So last night I witnessed one of the most amazingly wonderful feats of endurance and determination, paired with an outpouring of love and support...
As I was on a late night training run that found me in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, I finished up my last mile and I noticed a man with a crew of several people around him. He was making his way down Halsted... one of the many streets on the route of the Chicago Marathon earlier that day. I then noticed that he had a race number pinned to his jacket.
I asked one of the people in the group what was going on, and they informed me that his name was Maickel Melamed, a 37 year old man from Venezuela with muscular dystrophy. He was competing in the marathon and had started around 8:45 that morning. At this point he had traveled roughly 32 of the 42 km of the marathon at it was about 8:15 pm. With roughly 10 km (+6mi) to go, they were expecting him to finish some time around midnight.
Upon hearing this, I went home, got into some warmer clothes and headed back out to cheer him on in his last several miles. Myself, Ross and another couple friends, found ourselves walking with his group of supporters for the last 5 km of his journey. As we walked, we learned that he had done not one, but TWO
previous marathons -- Berlin and New York City. He spreads the message _"If you dream it ,make it happen."_
With tears of joy and admiration we watched and cheered, as over the next few hours, he made his way to the finish line. Along the way, the group of supporters, wearing their green VAMOS
shirts, along with spectators like ourselves, grew from about 30 when I first saw him in Pilsen, to well over 100 by the time he reached the finish.
At nearly 1:30 -- 16 hours and 46 mintues after he started -- he crossed the finish line and the crowd erupted in triumphant cheers, and he was surrounded by everyone that joined him on his journey.
The local news interviewed him and he left us with the message"If you dream it ,make it happen. Your life is the most beautiful thing that can happen to you. So, make the best of it"
Never have I been more inspired and in awe from someone I had just heard about and met only hours before..This man has got to be the true winner of the Chicago Marathon.
Maickel Melamed is an amazing human being who refuses to let his disease get the best of him. I wish his story got more coverage, but I did get to tell him "Chicago te ama!" #Chicago #ChicagoMarathon #MaickelMelamed +ProyectoVAMOS