ARLINGTON, VA (WUSA9) — It takes grit to run 26.2 miles. Marathons are full of inspiring story after inspiring story. But, Jamie Watts of Arlington, Va. has a special brand of tenacity.
Jamie is a 36 years old woman with cerebral palsy who lives in Arlington. She just finished her first marathon on Sunday.
WUSA9 first introduced you to Jamie a few years ago. She decided to run her first 5K, in order to get in shape for a family trip.
One she crossed the finish line, she was so inspired she decided to run 34 races before her 34th birthday. She followed that up with running 35 races before turning 35. She even ran a few half-marathons. But, she had never run a marathon.
She never thought she would get the chance. It akes Jamie a lot longer to run these races, so race organizers have to make special accommodations to open the course early. WUSA9's Debra Alfarone asked her why running a marathon was so important to her.
"I think it's important to me because originally when I started running, I thought a marathon was something that was not on the table for me and I just had to take it off the table and accept that it wasn't going to be something that I could complete. But, when somebody presented the opportunity to me to run a marathon, I immediately jumped on it because if i'm ever gonna do it, this is my chance to do it and path forward to complete," she said.
It was race organizers for the New Jersey Marathon who extended the offer to Jamie and she grabbed it.
She trained for months, worked with a nutritionist, and in the run-up to the marathon, adjusted her sleep schedule. That's because she started the race before everyone else, at about 10 o'clock Saturday night.
She ran through the night, on a course, opened up early especially for her and her team of helpers. She ran in the wind. She ran in the rain. She ran through the night.
The other runners started at 7:30 Sunday morning. The runner who came in first took about two and a half hours to complete the course. The average time to finish a marathon is about four and a half hours.
Jamie's time: 14 hours, 33 minutes. That's persistence, determination, and perseverance.
Jamie's story offers a lesson to us all. She chooses to live in a space of ability and possibility and not one focused on what she doesn't have.