In 1980, I was inspired by the incredible cross-Canada "marathon of hope," a personal crusade by a 22-year old Canadian name Terry Fox. He was raising money for cancer research after losing one of his legs to the disease. Yes, he ran nearly 4,000 miles on one leg and a crude (by today's standards) prosthetic. His gait was more of a hop-skip-and-jump because his artificial leg was inflexible and acted more as a balancing platform rather than a second leg.
Two days ago, ESPN ran an episode of the "30 for 30" series and Terry Fox was the central figure. I was struck by many things including the raw aspects of his trek. He labored mile after mile with only a single friend following in the van they shared most of the way. He was not supported by Nike (not really even in existence then) or any other major sponsor. He was not in it for the personal wealth. He was not trying to become a hero. He was just a young man who was doing something quietly spectacular, quietly awesome.
I remember a brief mention in Runner's World about Terry Fox back then, and maybe a little bit on the national news. I was impressed by him, but never imagined doing anything like that. I still can't fathom the pain he must have been in, but I know this: Terry Fox convinced me that you can do anything you put your mind and heart into.
Terry Fox, you have inspired me again. Rest in peace.