At today's Chicago Marathon, Jami Marseilles will attempt to become the first female bilateral amputee to run a marathon. That's right, the 46-year-old — who lost both legs to frostbite 27 years ago — will run the 26.2 mile race on prosthetic legs.
When Marseilles was 19, her and a friend were driving back to school from a ski trip in New Mexico when they got caught in a snow storm, hit a snow bank and went off the road. It took 11 days for someone to find them.
During the three weeks she spent in the hospital after she was rescued, Marseille learned the doctors would have to amputate both legs just below the knee. According to an interview with Runner's World, her physical therapist told her, "the best way to try to heal myself [would be] to gain strength and power through exercise.”
But as someone who had never really exercised before the accident, she started with weights, biking and walking. Eight years after the amputation, Marseilles was inspired to start running after watching footage from the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. Soon, she was representing the United States internationally at paralympic competitions.
Countless races and four half-marathons later, she's ready to tackle her first full marathon today in Chicago. She then hopes to qualify for April's Boston Marathon where she'll run in honor women who survived the 2013 bombing, several of whom she's worked with through the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
We'll be rooting for you, Jami!
Photo courtesy of Jami Marseilles