Thursday, July 7, 2011

Achilles International

A couple of months ago I started reading this book, First Marathons. I can hear my speed reading friends laughing at me even now, as I confess that this book has taken me a few months to read. Reading for me is like running is for most of you... slow and painful. Nevertheless, I trudge through books, and most always come out on the other end of it with a great feeling of accomplishment and having learned something too.

This book is composed of a various people's stories of their first marathons. Some of the stories are from big names in the running world, and others are from just everyday runners. Many of the stories moved me to tears, but none like that of Dick Traum. His story should have had a warning label. Long story short, Dick lost one of his legs due to a tragic accident in his mid 20s and after LOTS of hard work and training, he became the first person with a prosthetic leg to complete the NYC Marathon.

His story was so moving to me as I read. All I could think about was how badly I hurt and grunted through every step of my training for my first marathon, and that he did it with only one real leg. The first line in his story says, "When I took my artificial leg for a 26.2 mile run in 1976, I had no idea how it would change my life." No kidding it changed his life. He became an avid spokesman and advocate for those with disabilities.

As a result of that run, he started a now world-wide club, called Achilles International. The club helps those with disabilities train and reach their athletic goals. In the book he writes of those with Cerebral Palsy, no limbs, and blindness that have conquered 26.2 miles of a marathon. Their stories are just as moving as his. One guy had no use of his arms so he pushed the wheel chair backwards with his feet to move it. He did that for an entire 26.2 miles!

Below is a snap shot of the club website. I recommend you take a look at the site by clicking below. The stories and pictures you see there will no doubt inspire you to achieve whatever it is you want!

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