WASHINGTON (ABC7) — The Marine Corps Marathon will host 30,000 people from 64 counties Sunday morning. One of those participants is already inspiring others before the race starts.
Cedric King always has time to talk. Even when the former Army Sergeant Major is gearing up for this weekend’s 10K at the Marine Corps Marathon.
“What’s going on, man? You’ll be out there?” said King to a man walking near the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial.
“Alright. Good deal, man.”
He took a few practice laps around the monument but stopped to explain to a few passersby how he uses his prosthetics and how it feels.
“You ever run through mud or sand? It’s like running through deeper sand,” he said.
When King was on his third combat tour, he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
“And took both my legs off.”
While he recovered at Walter Reed, the Army Ranger’s outgoing personality faded. He became sad and when friends and family came to visit, they left with melancholy. It was a cycle he wanted to end.
“When you lose something that you’ve always been with, you feel like, ‘Alright, maybe I’m a little bit less. Maybe I’m not as important.’ I found out by making other people feel better and engaging with other people, it kind of took the place of my legs, you know?” said King.
Every chance he gets he stops and talks to people, gives them a hug and inspires them. King says they do the same for him even if they don’t know it.
“It’s letting them strengthen you,” he said.
He first put on his prosthetic blades the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. He told himself he would volunteer to help the next year but he did much more than that when a race bib became available.
“Twenty-one months after me being injured, I was standing on the starting line in Massachusetts starting the Boston Marathon,” he said.
It took courage but King said he was scared. It’s that fear that helps him grow.
“If you’re scared, you’re in the right place. Don’t move. Wait for the gun to go off and start running,” he said.
Whether your obstacle is a marathon, lost loved one, job layoff or anything else, King said keep pushing forward.
King lives in Georgia but considers Washington DC his second home. He plans to run the full marathon next year. After the 26.2 miles, he won’t be able to wear his prosthetics for weeks.
King’s story is featured in a new book called The Courage To Go Forward. The authors interview individuals who overcome obstacles and how they set goals and achieve them.
Proceeds from the book go to the Achilles International Foundation that helps people with all types of disabilities.