A Blade for Running

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There are about sixty teenagers gathered in the main square for the 10K race. They are all wearing different colored bibs according to the charities they represent. Adam has met up with Martin and Natalie, his team-mates. They are going to run so that other young people like him can have a carbon prosthesis.

The crowd is building up behind the barriers. Adam hears whispering, laughter and shouts. He sneaks a look at the other competitors. They all have two legs, solid and muscly. He only has one, the other replaced by a running blade. He can see himself on that hospital bed after the accident. Three years ago already. The rehabilitation sessions, the pain, the anger, the stares from other people. Suddenly he feels afraid. Afraid of not being up to this.

The race is under way. Some runners are already far ahead. Adam matches his pace to that of Martin and Natalie, a slow, regular rhythm. He remembers his trainer’s advice: “Don’t be too quick off the mark, you have to make the distance. Control your breathing. Clear your mind of everything, strike your own balance”. He shuts himself inside a bubble, hearing his booming heartbeats. The blade bounces off the ground, a regular movement in harmony with his good leg. “With your blade, you’ll show how good you are,” his grandfather used to say. He misses him. It was thanks to him that he fought on. “Accept that you’re different, but never let anyone treat you as a victim. You’re strong, Adam. You have it all inside you!” he used to say.

The miles fly past. Over halfway. Sweat is streaming down his back. He swallows hard. He must keep going despite the pain in his calf, keep it up, escape in his head, far away from the race. The metallic sound of the blade striking the tarmac reminds him of a train.

Just a few more miles. After the curve, the hill. The pain is getting worse, paralyzing his muscles. People are cheering him on and applauding. Don’t give in, not now! He can, he must, make it.

The last mile. Give it everything you’ve got, up the pace. Martin is right behind him. No more pain, just euphoria, a feeling like flying. He crosses the finish line and makes a victory sign. A sign aimed at the heavens. “This is for you, Grandad,” he whispers.

Translated by Wendy Cross

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Image of David.sims_
David.sims_ · ago
This almost made me cry
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Image of Sandra Dullin
Sandra Dullin · ago
Thanks for your reading! I'm glad you like it.
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