Tim Hurst at 55 has run 29 marathons. His prosthetic leg made with new technology has enabled him to take on marathon challenges he didn’t imagine when a heavier wooden leg was in use.
For many contestants, Tuesdays Belle Fourche Marathon was about getting a chance to run another marathon in another state. A notch off of the old bucket list perhaps.
For guys like Tim Hurst though, competing is about more than fulfilling a hobbyist’s desire. For Hurst, a 55 year-old South Jordan, Utah, native, it’s about defying odds and expectations.
Hurst was in a motorcycle accident when he was a 21 year-old college student.
On his way to class one day he was hit head-on by a drunk driver. Three months later, Hurst woke up in the hospital to discover that he had lost the lower half of his left leg, a finger, and was paralyzed from the waist down.
“I was a young guy and I spent a year in the hospital before my insurance ran out, had 14 operations and had no chance of ever walking again.”
After being released from the hospital, Hurst, unable to work, moved back in with his parents.
Hurst’s fortunes took a turn for the better about three months later when he noticed an itch in his foot. And a week after that he began to regain some of his leg movement.
“I just remember feeling an itch in my toe and then thinking ‘Well that’s weird. I haven’t felt anything in over a year. So I screamed for my mom. She thought I had fallen or something. Within six months I had gone from never being able to walk again to riding a bicycle two to three hours every day.” he said.
Hurst eventually received a prosthetic leg, which he described as heavy, uncomfortable and made of wood. He made the most of that for quite some time and was able to run moderate distances before his leg started to bother him.
With a little help from modern technology at 50 years of age, Hurst was eventually able to acquire a lightweight graphite prosthetic leg which allows him ‘to fly like superman.’
The Center of the Nation Marathon Series based in Belle Fourche is Hurst’s 29th marathon.
Although he seems to be very comfortable with running on his new leg, it doesn’t come without challenges.
“I like running in the cold,” said Hurst. “Like today it was a little hot. But I like running in cooler temperatures usually because my leg swells up and blisters when it gets warmer. It stays down in the cold.”
Hurst, like many of the other participants was ardent about commitment to doing what he loves to do and going after his goals.
“The very most important thing is that you can’t listen to anybody,” said an emotional but humorous Hurst.
“I’ve had family members, doctors and friends tell me that I can’t do it. That it’s beyond my capabilities. Doctors recently have sent me e-mails saying that I shouldn’t do more than one marathon a year. I just delete those. You have to believe in yourself.”
Source: Butte County Post