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Maickel Melamed is not your average long-distance runner. He doesn't sport the lean, strapping leg muscles of his competitors — in fact, he has low muscle tone — and he's never come close to the 4-hour average time to finish a marathon. But his perseverance surpasses that of almost everyone who's ever crossed the finish line of a 26.2 mile course.
Melamed has muscular dystrophy, a disease that progressively weakens a person's muscles throughout their life. Despite having the condition since birth, the Venezuelan has made it his mission to complete five major marathons in his lifetime. This past Sunday, around 1:30 a.m., Melamed came in very last place at the Chicago Marathon with a time of 16 hours and 46 minutes. A massive crowd of supporters cheered him on to the triumphant finish of his third marathon.
An inspiration to all of us who claim “I can’t run,” Melamed is a stunning example of overcoming the odds. And he's not done yet. Melamed plans to run his next marathon in Tokyo this February.
(Also check out: 30 Convincing Reasons to Start Running Now)