Palmeiro-Winters was only 22 years old in 1994 when she lost her leg after she was hit by a car while riding her motorcycle. Before the accident she had a day job as a welder and competed as a marathon runner and hurdler (but not even close to world class). This is where her amazing story begins.
You can read the entire article (which I highly suggest) at The New York Times
Her left foot had been crushed so badly that it was down to a size 4, compared with her right foot, which is size 7 ½; her left calf had atrophied badly. So she ran the marathon in Columbus, Ohio, in slightly over four hours, high for her, and later submitted to the amputation, and her life changed drastically.
Running on customized left legs, she is able to beat endurance runners with her lower limbs in races that last 24 hours, go more than 100 miles, up hills, through deserts. She says running endurance races does not compare to the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races of Oscar Pistorius, the admirable South African runner who has artificial lower legs and has been ruled ineligible for Olympic competition.Palmiero-Winters ran in 10 ultradistance races last year, winning the women’s race at the Heartland 100-Mile in October, becoming the first amputee to qualify for the Western States 100-mile race
Oh, and in between Palmiero-Winters pushes wheelchairs for participants in marathons, as many as six a year."I would not change a thing," Palmiero-Winters said the other day. She thought about it for a second, and said: "Not a thing."
image: Kathy Kmonicek for The New York Times