The Boston Marathon is 26.2 grueling straight-line miles of sweat, fatigue, and self-doubt, a feat people who are in excellent physical shape would have difficulty accomplishing. Which means that when people who have disabilities are able to accomplish it, it's all the more impressive.
Juli Windsor and John Young, two runners who happen to have dwarfism, will attempt to be the first people with the condition to complete the Boston Marathon on April 21st, according to TODAY. The pair attempted to run last year, but were thwarted by the attack at the finish line that injured more than 250 people and killed 3. Here's more on that:
"For the most part, running is discouraged for people with dwarfism," Windsor told TODAY.com. "You have a higher risk of developing osteo-arthritis, and just the pressure that running can have on the joints — it's different for us. It's not an encouraged thing."
Nevertheless, when her friends started running track in the eighth grade, Windsor joined too. "I didn't necessarily think it was something I'd be good at," she said, "but then I found running was something I fell in love with and I enjoyed doing."
Because Boston's is the oldest marathon in the States, it's also got the richest history, and is the most coveted accomplishment for many runners. If a normal, run-of-the-mill person wants to run, they have to qualify by running pretty damn fast (personal anecdote: I ran 4:05 in Chicago last fall, which was half an hour faster than my first marathon, and I was still half an hour too slow to qualify for Boston. And I felt like I was hauling ass) or they have to raise a fuckload of money for charity. It's a whole extra layer of work and commitment on top of the normal level of work and commitment it takes to run a marathon.
So to see people who have even more obstacles to overcome do something that an able-bodied person would have to train incredibly hard to accomplish is incredibly impressive. And humbling. And heartwarming. And also makes me feel pretty bad about the fact that I haven't dusted off the ol' running shoes since Saturday.
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