Elizabeth Smart, the Utah woman whose kidnapping and nine-month disappearance captivated the nation, shared with followers over the weekend how she finished her first marathon when in Alberta with her husband.
Smart, 31, posted a video of herself completing the marathon, showing the moment she crossed the finish line, on Sunday morning while vacationing in Banff, Alberta, with her husband Matthew Gilmour and their children.
‘Definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done by choice,’ Smart wrote in a caption, hinting at the abuse she experienced after being kidnapped at the age of 14 from her bedroom in Salt Lake City.
The beginning: Elizabeth Smart, 31, (pictured before the race) shared a video and pictures of herself with her husband, Matthew Gilmour, running in a marathon in Banff, Alberta
Success! Smart also shared a picture with her husband after they completed the marathon
She continued: ‘I’d put finishing a marathon right up there with child birth, but I’m so proud of myself for doing it and finishing.
‘There were definitely some moments along the way that I seriously questioned my sanity for willingly put my legs through that, but knowing what I’m running for (in support of the harmony project) and being able to run with my best friend and greatest love (who incidentally is also the best dad my children could ask for) through what has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth I feel extremely humbled and blessed.’
Pushing through: She confessed running the marathon was one of the hardest things she ever ‘chose’ to do
Elizabeth went on to thank the people at the race, volunteers and other runners, who helped encourage her to put ‘one foot in front of the other’ and make it to the finish line.
‘There were so many amazing runners out today that encouraged me to keep putting one foot in front of the other and so many wonderful volunteers that were so kind and helpful, at one point I was ready to cry wondering if I could make it and there they were sponging me off and passing me water,’ she wrote.
‘Thank you!!! you definitely don’t disappoint. And as an advocate for survivors and against violence thank you for caring!’
Included with the video was a picture of Elizabeth with her husband, Matthew Gilmour, before and after the race.
The couple wore medals around their necks as they grinned for the camera in excitement over completing the marathon.
Excited: ‘I’d put finishing a marathon right up there with child birth, but I’m so proud of myself for doing it and finishing,’ she said
Family: Smart has three children with her husband, all of whom were on the trip to Alberta
Strong: The woman made headlines when she was just 14 years old after she was kidnapped in her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Smart is now an advocate for survivors of violence
Running the marathon appeared to be a surprising and rewarding experience for Smart, who trained for it outside of her advocacy work for survivors against violence.
On June 5, 2002, Smart, who was 14 years old at the time, was sleeping in her bedroom near her nine-year-old sister, Mary Katherine, in their Salt Lake City home.
A man then cut through the screen of the bedroom window and entered the room.
He held a knife against Smart’s throat and threatened to kill her family if she screamed.
Smart did was she was told and then taken from her home by Brian Mitchel to an encampment in the woods he and his wife, Wanda Barzee, owned outside of the city.
During her nine months in captivity, Smart was tied up and repeatedly raped and abused by Mitchell.
She was also forced to ‘marry’ Mitchell in a bizarre ceremony, made to drink alcohol and take drugs in order to lower her resistance, and force fed garbage.
Mending: In March, Smart marked 16 years since she was rescued from captivity after she was abducted from her bedroom. She experienced horrific abuse for nine months
Survivor: ‘I still feel the same way today that I did back then.’ Smart then quoted what she said at the time: ‘I’m the luckiest girl in the world’
Smart was saved when a stranger saw the trio walking on a public street and called police.
But while Mitchell will spend the rest of his life behind bars, Barzee was released last year after being in jail since 2003 despite Smart’s pleas for the woman to remain behind bars. Barzee was previously scheduled to be released in 2024.
Smart now uses her platform to help other survivors of abuse and violence.
In March, she celebrated 16 years since she was rescued from her captors on social media by sharing an emotional post.
In the post, she quoted what she said at the time: ‘I’m the luckiest girl in the world! Thank you for your love and prayers. It’s a wish come true!! I’m home! I love you all.
‘And may we continue to hold on to hope for every missing child that they will have the same happy ending to the nightmares they have endured, and hopefully will be able to go on to live a life full of love, happiness, and contentment.’
Smart has three children with her husband.