Marko Cheseto may be on two prosthetic legs, but he blazed through Boston on Monday to set the new Boston Marathon course record in the double amputee below the knees category.
The 35-year-old ran the race in 2 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds to beat the previous record of 2 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds set by Richard Whitehead in 2010.
“It [the record] gives me a little bit of pressure. There’s always that pressure to do better. This doesn’t make things easier or change things,” Chesero told Runner’s World.
“I have to go back and talk to my coach and see how I can improve my time.”
This is @MarkoCheseto, originally from Kenya, who lost his legs to frostbite several years ago and now works to help children get access to prosthetic limbs. This was his first #BostonMarathon #WCVB pic.twitter.com/KBhKmMzyeW
— Josh Brogadir (@JoshBrogadirTV) April 15, 2019
Cheseto ran the race for 50 Legs, a nonprofit that has equipped hundreds of people who are missing legs or feet with prosthetic devices.
It’s been quite the year for Cheseto. In November, he ran the New York City Marathon, his first 26.2-mile race since losing his legs to frostbite in 2011. A few days later, he became an official U.S. citizen.
Cheseto, who was born in Kenya, earned All-American status at the University of Alaska- Anchorage. While attending the school, he went out in the woods for a run and went missing for 55 hours. He returned to campus with severe frostbite on his hands and feet, the latter of which were amputated above his angles.
He was fitted for prosthetic legs and picked up running again just 18 months after losing his limbs.
Ever since the scary ordeal, Cheseto has earned a degree in nutrition, gotten married and had three children. He had hopes of representing Kenya in the 2016 Paralympic Games in the 200-meter dash, but the country’s government withdrew team funding. So, he set his sights on training for the marathon, moved his family from Alaska to Orlando and got to work.
“I thought it would take a lot of time, but my muscle memory picked it up right away,” he said.
His next goal? Run with the elites in a major marathon.
“One thing I told myself was the condition that I have was just a phenomenon that happened in my life, it does not define who I am,” he said. “I still have my inner power.”