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In the early 1930s a man by the name of Peter Strudwick was born in what was quickly becoming known as Deutsches Reich ("German Reich.") During her pregnancy Peter’s mother contracted Rubella. As a result, Peter was born with legs that ended in stumps just past the ankles, a left arm that only had one thumb and a finger, and a right arm ending at the wrist. Doctors advised that Peter be quickly and quietly killed since he could never have a “normal” life. Fortunately his mother told them where they could put their advice and quickly moved to America. Peter had certain limitations placed on him from birth; points beyond which he could not go. But what if I told you Peter didn’t realize he had those limitations? He didn’t understand that a man with no feet can’t run. What if I told you that not only did he run, but that he ran marathons? And not just any marathons, but the toughest of all marathons: Pike’s Peak, climbing more than 8,000 feet over thirteen miles—past 12,000 feet in elevation, where trees can’t grow—and then back down. Oh, and by the way, he did it four times.

Now before you think that Peter used some kind of special prosthetics, let me point out that Peter began running the Pike’s Peak back in 1971 wearing a pair of homemade running shoes that were basically leather cylinders with a rubber base on the bottom. Peter says that to understand what it is like for him to walk, you need to create the coffee can stilts you used as kids and try walking around with those. He has nothing to leverage his steps with. At one point during the second half of the grueling race, he got a small piece of rock inside his boot. When it began cutting into the stump of his leg, he finally stopped to untie his shoe. Except his finger and thumb were so numb he couldn’t get the laces undone, so he finished the run with the rock cutting into his foot. Peter believed what his mother had taught him: “Never accept the limitations imposed on you by other people.”

When tempted to quit, he kept his eyes on the prize, reaching for the goal. In his book, Come Run With Me, Peter concludes with these words…

Call me a fanatic if you wish…and you’ll be right.

But I’ll be out there running for as many years as I can.

And if in my last race the mountain is too steep to run,

I’ll jog it. And if I can’t jog, I’ll walk. And if I can’t walk,

I’ll crawl on all fours. And when I can no longer crawl,

I’ll shout words of fire and glory to those around me

And die with my face to the finish line! (“Come Run With Me”, Exposition Press, p. 46.)

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