Double Amputee Runs Boston Marathon In Tribute To Victims Of 2013 Bombing

Mason Joseph Zimmer
man with two amputated feet smiling with family after finishing Boston Marathon
instagram | @paulwalkrunagain

Although losing a part of your body will obviously bring some unexpected challenges to your life — and it's easy to underestimate how many of them come from other people — there are many people in that situation who will tell you that it's not something that can keep your down if you're willing to fight.

And while there are no shortage of stories about individuals who have not let their differences stand in the way of greatness, we can also find that their experiences have given them some powerful perspective on what others have had to go through.

That perspective gave one man a solemn reason to dream of conquering the Boston Marathon in a year characterized by its quiet contemplation for a tragedy that occurred there almost a decade ago.

When Paul Kent reached his 30s, he experienced the onset of a rare genetic neuropathy that left him numb from the ankles down.

man with two amputated feet smiling in hotel lobby
instagram | @paulwalkrunagain

As he told Good Morning America, this wasn't something that held him back in his 30s and 40s because it wasn't painful, so he remained active and ran marathons, Iron Man challenges, and triathlons.

However, shortly before he turned 50, his condition made him vulnerable to a series of severe infections that hospitalized him every six months for almost a decade.

Since his issues were exclusively from the ankles down, he requested a double amputation to remove his feet in 2018.

bib with race number for Boston Marathon
instagram | @paulwalkrunagain

And as he put it, "If I didn't undergo this amputation, there would be a high probability I wouldn't be talking to you today."

He also said the procedure made him feel liberated and just under a year later, he would start training for the Boston Marathon.

But while his eventual run in the marathon was a celebration of his new lease on life, that wasn't his primary motivation for participating.

man with two aputated feet running in Boston Marathon
instagram | @paulwalkrunagain

Instead, he intended to honor those whose lives were affected by the bombing that took place near the finish line back in 2013.

In his words, "It was a tribute to all those folks who went through that horrific day. To let them know, too, that some greatness has really come out of it. It's not just isolated to Boston, it's global."

Kent would go on to finish the marathon and shared an emotional embrace with his son when it was all over.

man with two amputated feet smiling with family after finishing Boston Marathon
instagram | @paulwalkrunagain

And while he could count on the support of his family and friends, he also found that this sense of togetherness extended beyond his social circle and included thousands of fellow racers and spectators.

As Kent wrote in an Instagram post after the event, "Not a moment passed all day where my fellow runners and the people lining the route didn’t offer me encouragement to keep moving forward!"

h/t: Good Morning America