After I had my elective amputation surgery ten years ago, I had a long list of athletic things I wanted to try. Running wasn’t one of them. This may surprise you, since most of the news stories you see about amputees seem to focus on them running races of all kinds. But when I looked at all my sports options, running just seemed like a lot of work. So I picked skiing, which is basically just controlling your body as gravity throws you down a mountain.
But being in the amputee community I know a lot of amputee runners. And I know a lot of runners with other disabilities. Some of them need assistance. This is why I love the story I’m about to share with you.
What happens when an experienced runner, with no experience in leading blind runners, is paired up with a blind athlete and asked to run the New York City Marathon together, four days later?
“Mike assured me I would pick it up quickly. I wasn’t so sure, but I agreed to participate, flattered by the offer and intrigued by the challenge”, said Jonathan Stenger, in an article from Slate.com called “Running for Amelia”.
It’s a story about sharing what you love to do with someone else who has the same love. It’s about being in tune with another person’s needs and rhythms. It’s about the sport of long distance running no longer being an exercise in escaping into your own mind to get through, but stepping out of your own mind to help another person through it.
If you are a runner, or even if you are fascinated by runners but don’t participate yourself, this article will inspire you. As you see the results of the Boston Marathon all over the news this week, let it be a reminder to you, to share what you love with those around you. And maybe even challenge yourself to reach out and help.
“Running alongside Amelia, intensely watching the road and the racers all around us, listening over the roar of the crowds for any instruction or question, running for Amelia–it became one of the most emotionally overwhelming and wonderful experiences I’ve ever had.” (Jonathan Stenger, from “Running for Amelia”, Slate.com)