Running is my passion and a huge part of daily life. The NYC Marathon Sunday was my fourth Marathon, but unlike any other that I’ve run before.
I ran as a Guide for Achilles International, an incredible non-profit organization that provides assistance and a community for athletes with disabilities. Hundreds of inspiring athletes participated in this year’s race and it was a powerful group to be a part of.
On Sunday morning, I laced up my Asics Kayano’s, a shoe I’ve trusted and loved for many years. I went to meet my team—I was running with a visually impaired athlete, Ernst, from the Achilles Norway chapter. Three other guides were on our team, including his daughter, Ida.
The day was filled with stories of courage, including runners coming from all over the world to participate, with various stories of overcoming obstacles like losing limbs or their sight.
Wearing the Achilles shirt was a true honor and one that brought so many beautiful moments throughout the day. Running for the benefit of another is a completely new and eye-opening way to run. Ernst’s spirit was so full of life and he was so grateful for the opportunity to run such a prestigious race. He described the race energy as a party and thanks to his energy, the day was like a party for me too.
Throughout the course, people were chanting his name and cheering for Team Achilles and Team Norway. Not a single moment, borough or cheer was lost on him. About halfway through, he was strong enough to pick up the pace in hopes of reaching his goal and achieving a personal record.
Nothing could stop him. After finishing last year at 4:37, we watched Ernst cross the finish line at 4:33 and beat his prior time. A moment that he described as so special.
As we watched him hug his daughter, we knew it was a day they would cherish forever and it was undoubtedly one that I will never forget. The opportunity to run with such an inspiring organization was an honor that I will always remember and one I was extremely grateful for every step of the 26.2 miles.