Chicago Marathon final runner Maickel Melamed completes race Monday in triumphant finish
October 14, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Winners do not usually come in last place- but Maickel Melamed's story may change your thinking about that.
Melamed was the last person to cross the finish line at the Chicago Marathon. The Venezuelan finished 17 hours after he started.
His very life is a story of endurance. When Melamed was born, doctors thought he might live a week. For 38 years, he's been living with muscular dystrophy. As the last person to cross the 2013 Chicago Marathon finish line, he's proven those doctors very wrong.
"Because I can do it! That's the point. If you can do something, you discover you can do it, and then you have to do it," Melamed said.
Talking about it today, Melamed says this was actually his third marathon. He's already competed in Berlin and New York. But Chicago, he says, was the most challenging so far because the race organizers insisted he use the sidewalks, rather than the streets.
"We have to go up and down. It's not flat at all. My muscles were weakened in a way," Melamed.
One determined step after another, he pushed through his personal wall at mile 21, and said he never considered the option of quitting. His race continued through the afternoon, evening and into the night.
"We spread a message of human dignity, and a world can be constructed with teamwork," Melamed said.
Melamed runs with a team - a physical therapist, trainer, coach and volunteers who encourage him. He said the people of Chicago were amazing, and he believes he's a better human being for running the race, and invited all those who appear more able-bodied than he to run it, too.
"When you cross the finish line, you think, 'I can do anything in life,'" Melamed said.
Melamed wants to finish five major marathons. He plans to run in Tokyo in February. He also plans to run the Boston Marathon as a tribute to the 2013 bombing victims.
chicago marathon, chicago news, jessica d'onofrio
- Baby boy found dead in Logan Square gangway
- 2 teens found dead in South Side apartment
- Suburban woman wins $14M verdict in Yasmin case
- ABC7 First Alert Weather Forecast
- Person drowns in kayak accident on Fox River
- Cardinal George presides over Easter vigil mass
- Blackhawks lose 4-3 in OT to St. Louis Blues
- Bloomingdale Trail bridge moved from Ashland to Western
- Teen dead after chase, shooting end in West Town crash
- Firefighters battle blaze in West Garfield Park
- Man appears in court with part of ear bitten off
- SUV crashes into Villa Park house
- Anti-violence Easter march held in South Chicago
- abcnews: Meth Lab Found in Million-Dollar Home