The marathon has long been considered to be the pinnacle of human fitness - a gold standard by which athletes can be tested. For years, able-bodied people have been competing in marathons around the world. More recently, however, handicapped people have been testing their mettle against the 26.2 mile race.
One such person is a 51-year-old Sylmar, California, resident, who is looking to compete in his first Los Angeles Marathon. The man suffers from partial paralysis, the remnant of a knife wound he received in 1991. He cannot use his left leg, a disability that has not deterred him from attempting the historic race.
While most disabled athletes compete in the marathon in a specialized racing wheelchair, the Slymar man says he has his own way. He wants to race on his skateboard. He kneels on the skateboard and pushes himself along using what he calls "shoves" - a combination of gloves and shoes that can grip the surfaces of the Los Angeles roadways.
He has become quite adept at skateboarding since 2011, when he took up the activity. He began to learn skateboarding on the 20th anniversary of his injury, a day he was stabbed while trying to save another man from violent robbers. The stab wound severed a part of his spinal column, rendering him partially paralyzed.
Paralysis is an extremely devastating injury, one that permanently alters one's way of life. In addition to the devastating emotional and physical toll that such an injury can bring about, the financial costs of the injury can be enormous. Medical bills, lost wages and physical therapy costs can quickly add up, all of it due to the negligence of another person.
The paralyzed skateboarder has been keeping his chin up, however. Though the LA Marathon's governing body hasn't yet decided whether to allow him to compete, the man says he's confident he will be at the starting line on race day.
KNBC-TV, "Paralyzed Skateboarder Wants to Ride in LA Marathon" Jason Kandel, Sep. 24, 2013