Growing up with Cerebral Palsy, I always dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. In the back of my mind I knew this would never be possible but my competitive spirit always burned.
Thinking back 18 years ago, I began a journey that even I never dreamed of. It was October of 1997 and I saw a commercial for the Ocean State Marathon. This race was from Narragansett Beach to Warwick Vets High School. I had always watched the Boston Marathon and envisioned myself competing in this historical race some day.
As the marathon got closer, I began training with an old high school friend behind a local shopping plaza. Before this time I had only pushed my wheelchair a maximum of 3.1 miles. Every week that went by we would train a little longer until eventually I was pushing up to three hours a day.
Training was only half the battle. When I attempted to register for this race I was denied heavily. I even had police officers call my house and tell me if I attempted to do the race they would have to remove me. I replied to them, "You do what you have to do, and I'll do what I have to do."
The race day came and my friends and I were out at the starting line before the sunrise. There were no spectators or cameras, it wasn't about that. This was a lifelong dream that I was determined to achieve.
It took 12 and a half hours and a lot of pain but I finally crossed the line. At that moment I felt like I was on top the world. Following that marathon everybody thought I would be happy and quit while I was ahead. But that wasn't the case.
On Nov. 7, 2010, I competed in the ING New York City marathon. This was my 51st marathon and possibly my last. Although I was slower than I'd hoped, I finished. It was almost frightening how similar this was to my first race. I began at sunrise and I finished in the dark. Over the years people asked me why I put my body though all the pain and stress of going 26.2 miles. There are various reasons.
Although I am older now and I have had many injuries, I still feel the urge to compete. I hope my career has inspired others to push beyond their limits. I have raced for charities, and sick people, but most of all I raced to show everyone IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!