LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Over 35,000 runners will take part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon and marathon this Sunday. There are several inspiring stories, and 8 News Now spoke with two runners who shared their own.
WARNING: A photo in this article may be considered graphic to some.
Former professional basketball player Sebastien Bellin will run the race, a task that seemed impossible three and a half years ago while he laid in a hospital bed after being severely injured in the 2016 Brussels airport bombing.
“I hope in many ways I can be a concrete example of someone trying to overcome their challenges or their handicap,” said Bellin. “Everything pointed to where I should not have made it.”
It was impossible to everyone but Sebastien.
“I just needed something to focus on. I just needed to motivate people around me and say one day, I’m going to run a marathon. One day, I’m going to do an iron man,” he said. “And everyone looked at me and said start by getting out of bed, start by getting out of a wheelchair. You kind of move towards this goal and it took shape.”
While Sebastien is just getting his feet wet in marathon running, the woman who broke barriers by becoming the first female to run the Boston Marathon. Katherine Switzer will be running in her 43rd at the age of 72.
“I’m really excited most about letting people know that regardless of their age or ability or past experiences, they can come out and take part in this amazing event,” Switzer said.
And even after all these years, Katherine will still experience the pre-race jitters.
“It really is magic,” she said, “and you do get butterflies, of course. But everyone is out there having a good time, and no place does it better than here in Vegas.”
The marathon starts at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17.