PHOENIX — People from across the nation traveled to Phoenix to take part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon this weekend.
They woke up early Sunday morning to put on their running shoes and hit the pavement.
For one duo who took part, the day was extra special.
“He’s run the marathon three times with me,” said Peter Kline as he prepared to run the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon with his partner 15-year-old Phoenix Jose. “He has cerebral palsy, so he has no use of his legs or his arms. But he’s a really smart young man, going to school, doing the best he can, but not physically able to run.”
This isn’t a first for Kline.
“I’ve run about 60 to 70 with children with disabilities all around the United States. The kids want to be involved; they want to have an opportunity to participate.”
Bringing the movement and the experience of running to kids like Phoenix is Peter’s passion.
“They enjoy it as much as the regular athletes do, we have a great time,” Kline said.
“I haven’t done it for the last year, and I’m ready to get back to it,” Jose added.
For this duo team, the support of the crowd really helps.
“And then the fact that I’m out there with everybody else. I’m not going to be the fastest guy out there, but there’s going to be a lot of people that will come up to me and latch on,” Kline said. “I’ve run over 120 marathons, so I know what I’m doing.”
Like most runners, getting to the finish line is a big goal, but this journey is about a whole lot more.
“The fans and people coming out to support,” Jose said. “I’ve finished about five. It means a lot.”
“The opportunity to be able to do this,” he said. “He’s very kind to me.”
The experience was rewarding for Peter.
“It’s really inspiring to see the kids get involved in these things and be able to participate,” he said. “Whether they’re talking to me or not talking to me, the look in their face, the smile in their face is amazing.”
In 2012, Peter founded Marathons with Meaning, an organization that pairs runners with others who have disabilities to help them also cross the finish line.
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