Legally blind man completes Boston Marathon
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The challenges lined themselves up from birth for Eric Strong. Born with congenital glaucoma, Strong's mother always told him, "always expect the unexpected."
So it was no surprise to him on Monday, to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Out of more than 25,000 runners to finish the 26.2 mile run, Strong finished somewhere around 7,000th place, but his placement wasn't as important as simply accomplishing the feat.
"If you have something in your way, your job is to get around it if you want to get around it," Strong said of his determination to not only complete the marathon, but to be able to run at all.
Strong has hardly any vision left in his right eye. Which is far better than his left. He sees some silhouettes when there's enough light, but mostly he's using his senses to get by.
Last year, after more than 20 years of a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, Strong discovered he could actually be a runner. By using a small string wrapped around his wrist and attached to another runner, called a guide, Strong can make his way with no problem.
That's how he finished in Boston, which is actually not even his most amazing feat.
On his 35th birthday, Strong decided to set out another lofty goal of running 35 miles, just to see if he could.
"I finished it with energy to spare," he said with a smile.
Strong is co-founder of a Charlotte chapter of Achilles International. It's a club that pairs runners with disabilities together with other runners. Strong is proud of their mission to get people moving and spread the word that you can do anything you set your mind to.
"You're in control of your life. You're here one time. Wherever you want to go, go for it. Don't let anything hold you back," Strong said.