Amputee keeps running, all the way to Cooper River Bridge Run
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Just days away from the Cooper River Bridge Run, some people have been training for months for the 6.2 mile run.
One man in particular has refused to give up his favorite pastime.
"I'm currently running about 40 miles a week," said Richard Blalock.
Blalock has run the Charleston Marathon, the Cooper River Bridge Run and countless other races.
"It's always been a part of me. Ever since I was a little kid, in home movies," Blalock said. "That was my thing. I run."
Now, Blalock only has one leg, but he is still running.
"About 2002 I noticed I had stiffness in my right ankle," he said. "I couldn't walk without pain. I couldn't walk from here to my car without significant pain."
When Blalock was in elementary school, he was hit by a bus, leaving his ankle and foot deformed.
He kept running through high school and into his 40's, but eventually pain crept back into his leg and he stopped running.
"It was a big part of my life," Blalock said fighting back tears. "I just didn't want to give it up."
For two years, Blalock thought he would never run again. Then he opted for a surgery that some people might think would prevent him from even walking.
"People can get amputation and get their lives back and do whatever they wanted to do," Blalock said.
In April 2009, he had amputation surgery, which took the two bones in his leg and bridged them together. It is called the Earl Procedure.
"I surprised myself with the outlook it gave me," he said. "I'm a more positive person."
Blalock ran his first race just five months after having his lower leg removed and he hasn't looked back since
"I get a lot of new goals and milestones that I can reach. I feel like a whole new runner," he said.
Blalock plans on running the Boston Marathon next year.
"I'll be able to run that race now when I wasn't able to as an able-bodied person and to be on the front of the line, I can't imagine what that day is going to be like," he said.
This will be the second time Blalock has run the Cooper River Bridge Run as an amputee. He says he has been running this race since it first started in the 1980's.
The bridge run is Saturday.
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