This young track star could not believe her eyes as she darted towards the finish line of her championship race, running straight into the arms of her soldier mom – who she had not seen in nearly six months.
Jada McGee, 13, was brought to tears by the surprise that followed her running the anchor leg of her school’s 4×100 meter relay race recently.
The teenager’s mother, Captain Erika Woodson, is currently serving a three-year assignment in Anchorage, Alaska, and had not seen her daughter since the beginning of January.
This season had been particularly difficult for Jada – who runs for Edward Harris Junior Middle School, in Sacramento, California – as her mother had not been there to see any of her races for the school.
But Erika was determined to make it to her daughter’s championship race, on May 14, and having flown in the morning of the event, the captain awaited nervously near the finish line, out of sight of her daughter on the other side of the track.
Erika said: “I couldn’t even sit in the chair that was there for me. I needed to be able to jump up and run to the finish line at her lane.
“As they lined up, all kinds of emotions and questions ran through my mind: Was this a good idea? What if she sees me and I become a distraction? Was I making the right decision?
“I was more nervous than she was and she was the one running the race.”
In the emotional footage, shot by Erika’s friend, Alex Amaro Jr., the soldier can be seen excitedly moving around a tent near the finishing line as the race progresses, before heading onto the track for her daughter’s anchor leg.
Erika made sure she wore her uniform so that her daughter would know that it was her mother off in the distance, and Jada said she noticed her mother around 50 meters out, helping propel her to the line.
The youngster even went on to help win the race for her school.
Erika added: “From that moment that she knew it was me, she really turn up the heat.
“That moment that she ran into my arms was indescribable.
“So many emotions through my entire body. When she buried her face into my shoulder, it was one of the best hugs that Ive had in my life.
“This whole experience was a representation of, ‘Mommy will always be at your finish lines. You have to run the races, but rest in knowing that Mommy will be there when you finish.’”
Jada said: “It was so exciting.
“My friends tell me that the video is cute.
“I’ve even received message asking if I’m the girl in that track video!”
Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media