Travel Determination



    As a runner, when you meet co-workers on your way to the gym , you may be told regularly (sort of like a confession) why they can’t run.
    My knees, my hips, etc, you know the story, so what do you do ? Just listen?
    I gave up, a long time ago, trying to respond.
    But when the same people keep telling me this again and again,I am ready to ask them if they really want to run.
    I am involved with Achilles Canada (a running club that helps others with different abilities to run )
    Most of our athletes are visually impaired, so we act as guides. They want to run and will not let obstacles get in their way.
    Achilles is part of a larger organization from the US called Achilles International ,founded by Dick Traum , who was the first above the knee amputee to run the NewYork City Marathon. He also inspired Terry Fox to begin his Marathon of Hope.
    Each year Achilles International hosts a pre NYC Marathon party. This year they recognized some Achilles Athletes who have completed 20 or more NYC marathons. This is inspiring. While I have been writing about the fast elite runners who inspire me, these unique individuals go beyond everyday determination. Not only are they running, they are training and don’t let disability get in their way.
    Before I get to those athletes, Achilles International has started a new program called Freedom Fighters. This program helps US soldiers who have lost limbs in Iran and Afganistan (much like Canada’s Wounded Warriors). Part of the rehab is to have them participate in the NYC Marathon.
    These brave young men and women are walking, running and using hand crank wheel chairs to complete the marathon (so don’t talk to me about your knees). Some of them don’t even have knees, and a few don’t even have arms, but they are out there competing with you and me.
    Achilles is a world wide organization and have athlete from South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Poland to name but a few of the chapters.
    Some of these athletes propel themselves backwards in a wheelchair to complete the entire 42.2 kilometers. (sore knees, sheesh)
    Back to those athletes who have completed 20 plus consecutive marathons.
    John Plata is deaf, Sister Mary Gladys has participated using a hand crank wheel chair since 2002 (and did I mention she is 79 years old?)
    Zoe KoplowitzLast (so to speak) but not least is Zoe Koplowitz who has MS and this year she crossed the finish line in 31 hours. As of and including 2011, Koplowitz has completed a total of 23 New York City Marathons, all of them in last place. Her 36 hour, 9 minute run in 2000 set a world record for the longest marathon time in the history of women’s running. “The race belongs not only to the swift and strong but to those who keep on running”, says Koplowitz. (see picture above)
    SO the next time someone complains about any body pain, tell them about Zoe or ask them if they really do want to run.