Mary’s Journey to Pikes Peak | God's World News

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Mary’s Journey to Pikes Peak

  • 1 Mary Barker
    Mary Barker and her fiancé, Kendall Samuel, build and race cars. (Courtesy of Mary Barker)
  • 2 Mary Barker
    Kendall Samuel raced up Pikes Peak in Colorado last year. Samuel and Barker will both race this summer. (PPIHC)
  • 3 Mary Barker
    Barker grew up riding horses. She learned about trucks and tractors, and that led to building cars. (Courtesy of Mary Barker)
  • 4 Mary Barker
    Samuel drove the Subaru he and Barker built in The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. (Courtesy of Mary Barker)
  • 5 Mary Barker
    Samuel asked Barker to marry him after the race at Pikes Peak last year. They plan to marry after the race this summer. (Courtesy of Mary Barker)
  • 1 Mary Barker
  • 2 Mary Barker
  • 3 Mary Barker
  • 4 Mary Barker
  • 5 Mary Barker
  • Heads up, parents! This map is operated by Google, not God’s WORLD News.

Rumble, rumble. Mary Barker cranks the four-cylinder engine she and her fiancé, Kendall Samuel, built. He raced the blue speed machine to the top of Colorado’s Pikes Peak last summer. On June 23, Mary plans to drive in her own Race to the Clouds.

Making it into The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a privilege. The second-oldest race in America is by invitation only. Driver applications require each hopeful’s race résumé, references, and car details. Only about 70 people will aim for the finish line this year. Barker is one of six female drivers.

Pikes Peak is a race against the mountain. One car at a time attempts the steep ascent. Barker will push her Subaru to its limit, taking 156 sharp turns on a 12.42-mile stretch with few guardrails. The elevation starts at 9,390 feet and ends at 14,115. Racers use oxygen to avoid getting lightheaded during the dramatic altitude change.

Barker’s journey into the automotive world started with . . . horses! She began riding at about age six. When she was 14, her parents helped her attain a mustang named Gracie. Barker trained Gracie and learned about mechanics in the process.

“You have to learn how to work on tractors, trucks—all the things that you need when you own a horse,” she says.

Barker struggled in traditional school settings. Homeschooling let her spend more time with Gracie and work with her hands. After completing high school, she took welding classes. She went on to work in automotive shops. That led to running Mechanical Advantage Racing with her fiancé. The two build engines and cars.

In September 2023, Barker learned she had stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s a curable, aggressive blood cancer. She spent four months in intense chemotherapy, followed by radiation.

Barker approached the grueling process with determination: “It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be painful. But I can do it. It’s not impossible,” she repeated to herself.

Now 28, Barker plans to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Motorsports Engineering online. She hopes to work for a larger race team, such as Formula One. She is an ardent advocate for women in the automotive world.

She and Samuel also plan to get married at the top of Pikes Peak this summer.

Barker reflects on her journey with wonder and gratitude. “I struggled with not liking who I was growing up, struggled with how I looked, how I felt, how I thought my brain works, how I struggled with school. But it all led to where I am now. Where I am now, I am very happy.”

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. — Hebrews 12:1-2

by Amy Auten in Asheville, North Carolina

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