Marathoner on a Mission: Runner with Foot Paralysis Nears Goal of 25 Races in 2012
Marathoner Beth Deloria draws on personal experience to inspire people with mobility challenges to “Get Back Up.”
(Greensboro, NC – November 7, 2012) – As a competitive runner, 46-year-old Beth Deloria has undertaken challenges before. She habitually completes two to three marathons or half marathons each year, and has run several times in the prestigious Boston, New York and Chicago Marathons. But this year, driven by a passion to encourage people who, like her, face physical limitations that threaten to diminish their quality of life, Deloria has taken her running to a new level.
By the time she knocks off for the year in early December, Deloria, who has a paralytic condition known as foot drop in her left foot and ankle, will have competed in 25 races in 21 states, totaling over 300 miles. Twenty-two of the races have been 13.1-mile half marathons, which she usually completes in less than two hours.
Deloria has undertaken her “Get Back Up” mission to show the thousands of Americans who suffer from foot drop that they don't have to surrender their mobility to the condition. “Those of us with foot drop don’t have to settle for losing the mobility we need to do our jobs, do things for our families, or continue the activities we enjoy,” she says. “I understand firsthand the importance of not allowing a condition like foot drop to dictate how we live our lives.”
Foot drop affects thousands of people across the U.S. Among the causes for the paralysis associated with foot drop are stroke, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder and neuropathy often associated with diabetes.
Deloria has battled foot drop since 2004, when severe spinal trauma and surgery caused nerve damage that resulted in the paralysis in her left foot and ankle. “With foot drop, my capability essentially declined from running over 26 miles to having difficulty walking without tripping,” she says. “The prospect of giving up an important part of my life because of foot drop was extremely depressing,” she recalls.
Future races in which Deloria plans to compete yet this year include four half marathons:
- November 11 – San Antonio
- November 18 – Miami
- December 2 – Las Vegas
Deloria is able to compete as a distance runner thanks to a special brace that supports and stabilizes her ankle, while flexing her foot upward in a position necessary for a normal running gait. The brace is a technologically advanced, carbon fiber and Kevlar® orthotic device designed to reflect the energy created by the wearer’s running or walking motion. Deloria has run with the brace for about five years, during which time she ran her fastest marathon ever and competed three times in the Boston Marathon.
Deloria is Manager of Community Outreach for Allard USA, the company that manufactures the ToeOFF brace she uses.
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About Allard USA
Allard USA is a subsidiary of Allard International, recognized worldwide as a leader of innovative orthotic devices, privately owned by Peter Allard and based in Helsingborg, Sweden. Allard USA is committed to working together with Orthotic and Prosthetic facilities and medical professionals throughout North America to offer innovative orthotic solutions that will help improve function and quality of life for individuals with physical challenges.