Running with Drop Foot
Updated: Tuesday, May 8 2012, 11:17 AM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Last weekend's events brought out runners of all skill levels and everyone has their own personal reason for competing in the Kalamazoo Marathon.
Some race to win, some for the fun of it and some race in honor of a loved one.
Josh Roe has the story of two women who thought their racing days were over, but now know that's not true.
Running hard doesn't always feel good, but for Beth Deloria's running life has at times been very painful.
"Well my foot was actually going numb, so it was a clear sign something was going wrong and I ruptured a few discs and woke up without the ability to feel my left leg," said Beth Deloria.
Beth had surgery. Her back and leg improved but her ankle remained paralyzed.
It's a condition called Drop Foot or foot drop, paralysis of the ankle. It took her two years to find something that helped.
A company called Allard makes the brace she uses.
"It actually acts like a diving board. It springs back so I actually have a little bit of power," said Beth.
She ran the half marathon in Kalamazoo, she ran a half marathon the weekend before and will run one next weekend.
Her plan was to run 20 halfs this year, but 20 just wasn't enough.
"Actually we added two and one of the marathons we added, or the halfs, was because of a lady from your town in Kalamazoo," said Beth.
Shannon Poortenga has been running on and off for a few years, but kept getting sidelined due to injuries.
"I went in and found out that I had a bulging disc, so I went in for some emergency surgery. Four weeks later my entire left leg went kind of dead and numb," said Poortenga.
She found out a few months later that she too has drop foot.
For Beth and Shannon, they both came to race. For Beth it's a chance to continue spreading her message that you can run, and run fast with drop foot. For Shannon it's just a chance to race again.
"There was a time when I struggled to walk down to the mailbox and I tripped and fell coming back up from the mail box. Just to be here today, I never thought that walking a 5k would be a big deal for me, but it is," said Shannon.
Shannon found Beth's story online. After that she knew she could race again too.
And after months of phone calls and emails, this weekend both in West Michigan for this race they met face to face for the first time.
"Beth has been a godsend for me and her story, it gave me hope. That's what it did," said Shannon.
Beth hopes her story gives others hope and Shannon hopes that next year she'll be running a race with Beth.