When He Couldn't Use His Prosthetic, This Runner Finished A Marathon On Crutches

The Comrades Marathon is almost 56 miles.

Prepare to be inspired by the story of Xolani Luvuno, an amputee runner who recently finished South Africa's Comrades Marathon on crutches. According to Runner's World, an injury left Luvuno unable to use his running blade, but he was determined to finish anyway.

Luvuno was reportedly allowed to begin the race at 12:30 a.m., five hours earlier than everyone else, with the condition that he wouldn't be an official race participant because it would take him more than 12 hours. He ended up finishing in 15 hours and 50 minutes.

According to News24, Luvuno's right leg was amputated due to bone cancer in 2009. In 2016, he was a drug addict and convict living under a bridge in Pretoria when a businessman named Hein Venter decided to help him. Venter gave him a job, helped him quit drugs, and introduced him and several other members of his staff to running. 

"It's another drug now," Luvuno said of running during a recent appearance on a South African talk show. Last year, he completed the Wally Hayward Marathon, which is 42.2 kilometers, on crutches with a prosthetic leg.

The Comrades Marathon, also called the "Ultimate Human Race," is approximately 90 kilometers, or about 56 miles. According to the Runner's World Instagram, Venter cycled and ran beside Luvuno during the race.

"I wanted to make sure that I finish before cut-off time and my coach said to me don't rush because the Comrades Marathon is not 42km, it's a big race," Luvuno said at the finish line, according to ESPN. "I want to say thank you to the supporters who cheered for me on the routes as well as the director of the Comrades Marathon for giving me this chance."

Luvuno is reportedly interested in participating in next year's Ironman Triathlon, as well as the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Meanwhile, some are arguing that the marathon's organizers should award him a medal for finishing the race, despite the special circumstances. Social media users are tweeting with the hashtag #GiveXolaniAMedal, and a man named Anton Bosman started a petition. 

"Xolani has inspired a nation with his courage. His achievement is just what South Africa needs to move forward in unity. He finished a test of the ultimate human strength, completing the ultimate human race," Bosman wrote, according to News24. "I feel Xolani has earned his medal, beyond any shadow of doubt."

However, Venter told the outlet they "respect the standards of the Comrades." At the finish line, he presented Luvuno with one of his own bronze medals from a previous marathon, with his name and the year engraved on the back. As Luvuno said, "It's not a competition for me. It's all about the experience, to finish in time."

Learn more about Luvuno's inspiring story in the videos below:

Cover image: lcswart / Shutterstock.com

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