I subscribed to Runner’s World. Over the weekend, I read the April’s issue and one of the articles “Big” telling stories of both John Young and Juli Windsor really shed light and brought inspiration to me. It’s not your typical “super human” athlete (though in their own ways, they truly were!). It’s your non-traditional runners – little people running big!
Both John and Juli have dwarfism and the article described their journey that lead to last year’s Boston Marathon where they could’ve set the history for the first little people finishing the prestigious race. The story went differently as the race was stopped after the bombing. Instead of finishing, they were diverted away from the course, around 25.7 mile mark. So close yet so far!
The article was an excellent read where I learned plenty about people with dwarfism, specifically relating to running. With their shorter height (John at 4’4″ and Juli at 3’9″), they have to stride almost twice as many steps (which meant, in a marathon, it’s almost like they run TWO marathons!) Their skeletal system is also different – many times, it’s harder on their bodies to run (e.g narrowing of spine that during running it can numb the legs). Most importantly, they have to overcome the doubts from strangers/on lookers that really make them “different”. John made several comments about people making fun of his training and Juli had to convince her own parents to train to run.
The article shed new light for me. Running, especially now becoming ever-so-popular, is taken for granted. ANYONE can decide to enter a half marathon or a marathon. For those just starting, there are plenty of 5Ks to choose from. And if you’re a spunky type, there are “fun runs” from the color run to the neon run. I was reminded that running was not to be taken for granted. There are runners who have to overcome much more to run.
And more importantly, it got me to think about the times when I whined about training (“why and why did I sign up for this half marathon? as I climb the side of a hill) Seriously, being able to train is A BLESSING in itself! I will stop whining from now on. Secondly, I was really inspired by John and Juli’s motivation to run. John started because he wanted to show his son, Owen, that being short-statured should not limit one’s desire to do things in life. Juli’s motivation was similar in that she always wanted to be an athlete and being short was not going to stop her. It’s facing adversity and taking it in good strides, something most runners can identify.
I’m truly in awe of these two little people of accomplishing BIG things. They gave new meanings to “runners of all shapes and sizes”
Here is a short article on Boston Globe:
Kudos to John and Juli!