When 30-year-old Ben Parole flew halfway around the world to take part in the New York City marathon on Sunday, he didn�t know that he would end up helping a complete stranger finish the race.
Parole (pictured below) is from New Zealand and he was running to raise funds for Cure Kids New Zealand, a charity that funds medical research to help save, extend and improve the lives of children with serious medical conditions.
As he passed the halfway mark in the marathon at mile 13, he noticed a disabled man in a hand cycle struggling to keep up. The man powering the cycle was 59-year-old James Akaka, a chef from Honolulu who lost his voice and was paralyzed from the waist down after he suffered a stroke in 2011.
Akake motioned for Parole to get behind the hand cycle, and when Parole confirmed that he wanted to be helped along, he jumped behind the cycle and started pushing.
�He was giving it his all,� Parole said. �He couldn�t talk to me but he could hear me� it�s like we were supposed to race together.�
Parole pushed him for the remainder of the race and they crossed the finish line together, two of the more than 53,000 runners that finished the race. Parole completed the marathon in 5 hours and 12 minutes and Akake�s time was 7 hours flat.
�His determination and willpower is amazing,� Parole said of his racing partner. �I�m just blessed I can run. I�m inspired by his efforts,� he continued, adding that he hoped that they would meet again.
Akake was racing as part of the Achilles International team, a non-profit organization that supports athletes with disabilities. He joined 69 other contestants who completed the marathon in hand cycles.
Even though he has already surpassed his $5,000 goal, you can still contribute to Parole�s �Cure Kids New Zealand� fundraiser by clicking here.
You can also make a donation to Achilles International by clicking here.
Congratulations to both runners for crossing the finish line, and for providing a shining example of what people can accomplish when they work together.
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(Source: images & video @ben.parore_fitness)