What to Know
- Adam Gorlitsky was paralyzed after suffering a spinal cord injury 13 years ago.
- Gorlitsky will walk the LA Marathon, and began his trek on Friday after receiving a waver from officials.
- If he finishes, Gorlitsky will be the first paralyzed man in history to complete the LA Marathon.
Thirteen years ago, Adam Gorlistky was in a car crash and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. A former track and field runner, he was told by doctors that he would never walk again.
On Friday, he started the Los Angeles Marathon with a delicate, yet determined first step.
Gorlistky began walking with the help of a robotic exoskeleton he received three years ago. Since then, he has completed numerous races that have tested his will power to defy the odds — 5k's, 10k's and half marathons.
The LA Marathon, however, will be the first time he's walked an entire 26.2 mile stretch while using the exoskeleton.
"I don't feel disabled, but I don't feel able-bodied," Gorlitsky said. "I feel what I call re-enabled and all that means is what it feels to be empowered."
Marathon officials gave him a special waver to start walking two days before runners take their mark at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Gorlitsky estimates it will take him about 36 hours to cross the finish line.
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"It's an incredible feeling being out at the same height as everybody," he said. "We're all going toward that same finish line, it's the greatest feeling in the world."
Not only is Gorlitsky there to achieve his personal goals, but he also hopes to raise awareness about the exoskeleton and his nonprofit, I GOT LEGS, which helps others with disabilities.
If he finishes, Gorlitsky will become the first paralyzed man in history to walk in the LA Marathon.