The New York City Marathon field is as diverse as the city itself. With different groups of runners from all over the world taking on the 26.2-mile course, there some that are especially worth highlighting, and that’s why A-lister Chris Pratt dropped in on one such pack.
With the help of Michelob Ultra, Pratt surprised some men and women running the Nov. 4 race as part of Achilles International, a non-profit organization that assists people with all kinds of disabilities participate in mainstream running events.
Pratt sat down with them for a beer after one of their training runs in September, and then presented them with Team Ultra bibs for the marathon. Of course, he got to know their stories and what drives them to run a marathon despite their physical differences.
One of those runners was John Young, a high school math teacher from Salem, Mass who is the first person with dwarfism to complete an Ironman triathlon, and someone we featured in 2017.
Young was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. He stands 4’4,” but the effort he puts forth on any race course far exceeds his stature, or anyone else’s for that matter.
That’s because with shorter arms, Young must take more strokes in the water compared to other swimmers. And, with shorter legs, he has to pedal 35% more revolutions than someone using an average 27-inch wheel. He did the calculations himself.
What math can’t account for, however, is the size of the determination within.
“A lot of times, I hear people who aren’t physically challenged say, ‘I could never run a marathon.’ I say, ‘That’s because you don’t want to,’” Young told us. “You have to be willing to put in the time. I’m convinced that if someone wants to put in the time and effort, they can complete any physical challenge they want to. Your ‘will’ has to be stronger than your ‘won’t.’ Your desire to do something has to be greater than what’s telling you not to.”
And that desire for the majority of athletes taking on the Big Apple come Sunday is something we can all admire.