Local Man Who's Never Walked Plans To Complete Second Marathon Sunday
TULSA, Oklahoma - Thousands of athletes will run across this finish line Sunday, but one man who will cross has never walked in his life.
Tadd Parrett of Oologah is ready to complete his second Route 66 marathon. He already did the 5k Saturday, so he's taking a break at the health and fitness expo.
"Everybody's got their challenge,” said Parrett. “I've never really looked at my life as a challenge. My parents always just said 'go for it,’ so I did."
What he's going for, some may consider impossible.
He's been in a wheelchair his whole life.
"I was born with spina bifida; it's a spinal deformity,” Parrett stated. “And I've been in it since birth."
He'll be in a new chair during the race, using his arms to push him through.
"Arms are doing everything, arms and hands,” Parrett explained. “Hands take a pretty good beating. Had a couple blisters last year I wasn't ready for but still worth it. The pain's worth it, don't care."
It's that perseverance Margie Tovander saw in Tadd that helped her decide he should win the award this year, named after her son Kjell.
He collapsed and died while running the half marathon eight years ago.
"He went down at the ten-mile mark and he went out smiling doing something he loved," said Tovander.
She says each recipient reminds her of Kjell in different ways.
"Just inspring, helping others, never taking credit for anything and he just likes to stay in the background and not draw attention to himself,” Tovander elaborated. “Those are the people that kinda remind me of him too."
Parrett finished the 5k Saturday with his personal best time, and he's hoping to beat his own record in the marathon as well.
"Just really ready to race," said Parrett.