Saturday, April 18, 2009

Inspirational story about an autistic runner...

Every once in a while, I'll step away from the central function of this blog, which is to help fans of the elite level of this sport follow their favorite athletes from this state.

Columnist Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times writes a fantastic piece about Andy Bryant from Seattle, a 27-year old autistic man who attended Ingraham High School in north Seattle (a school in which I coached track and cross country in the early 1990s), who is running in Monday's Boston Marathon.

Brewer writes, "Andy Bryant doesn't run. He vanishes — out of his mind, out of his autism. His coach says he moves as if he's in another world, weaving a little, defying textbook running strategy. If he could learn to maintain a straight line and pace himself, Bryant might be an elite marathoner.

Instead, he must settle for being an inspiration.

It's a consolation only because, with Bryant's unceasing thirst to race, there's rarely time to reflect. Besides, his mind doesn't work that way. He survives on routine, so a distance runner's detailed training schedule matches him perfectly. It fulfills his foremost desire: to be accepted.

"I don't want to have autism," Bryant says often. "I want to be one of the guys."

To read the rest of Brewer's column, please click here...

NOTE: Live coverage of the Boston Marathon, featuring Portland's Kara Goucher will be shown on beginning at 6:30 am pacific time (9:30 am eastern) Monday April 20th.

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