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This Sunday, I have the honor of being an Achilles Guide to the most incredible athlete, David Fraiser. This will be our 12th New York City Marathon together. David was dubbed the “final finisher” of the NYC marathon a few years ago by The New York Times. David is a wheelchair athlete born with cerebral palsy. David can be seen through out the five boroughs pushing himself backwards in his wheelchair with just one foot for 90% of the race. The other 10% of the race he faces forward on the downhills rolling down at top speed. Dave told a reporter at last year’s marathon, “This is how I get around every day, this is my life. I’ve always done it like this, I don’t know another way.”
Dave ran his first marathon in 2007. His wife Nora got stomach cancer. He vowed to do a marathon each year as a tribute to her. Nora has been in remission since 2008. This year will be Dave’s 15th NYC marathon. Dave and Nora live in Brooklyn with their three sons. Dave who is a CPA, decided 3 years ago at age 52, to get his personal training certification and now trains private clients in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Dave can be seen doing most of his own marathon training through out the summer and fall in Central Park.
Marathon Sunday is my absolute favorite day in NYC and to be able to be apart of Dave’s day is a true honor. Our day starts out early. We get an hour head start with the other wheelchair athletes and hand cyclists. It’s just a small group for the first hour. The marathon starts an hour later with the elite athletes that we get to see passing by on the Verrazano Bridge and then in Brooklyn. And then all of the sudden waves of runner come past us, like 55,000 runners. My job and Mike, Dave’s other long time guide are in charge of keeping him safe and clearing a path for him. By the time we hit mile 18 in Manhattan, that’s around 3 in the afternoon, Dave is super hungry. My two sons deliver pizza to him and walk part of the way with us. Each year, I am completely inspired by Dave’s grit and determination to finish the race. Dave puts forth a human effort like no other to reach that finish line. Dave embodies the idea that wit the right mindset you can be capable of anything. I was paired up with Dave 13 years ago through the Achilles Foundation. Achilles is an international organization that puts challenged athletes in races globally and pairs them with guides to help them throughout their race. Without Achilles, athletes like Dave couldn’t not complete in the marathon. If you would like to make a donation to help support athletes like David Fraiser, please click here.
If you want like to become a guide and be a part of the Achilles community please click here
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