Marc Fucarile finished the NYC Marathon with a time of about 2:47:00. Moments after he had just finished the course of 26.2 miles, he exclaimed he hadn’t really trained for this. In fact, he had only started participating in riding events this past April.
On April 15, 2013, Fucarile was supporting a friend – a marine who was running for servicemen injured while in the military – at the Boston Marathon. He was located outside of the Forum Restaurant only a couple feet from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the marathon bombing. When the first bomb went off, Fucarile remembers seeing smoke and debris but when the second bomb detonated thirteen seconds later, his life changed forever. As a result of the bomb, Fucarile’s right leg was amputated instantly; he also suffered significant injuries to his left leg and burns all over his body.
Initially the last marathon survivor to be released, Fucarile spent 100 days in the hospital and a rehabilitation center but was still facing a long road to recovery. Discouraged by doctors near his home in Boston, he luckily had the support of Jessica Kensky, another Boston Marathon Bombing survivor. She reached out to Doctor Walter Reed explaining Fucarile’s story. In 2015, left his home and traveled back and forth Maryland to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he received 5 more surgeries to correct his amputated leg.
It was in Maryland that he first met with Team Achilles. Achilles International is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement. Fucarile says he was “adopted” by the members of Achilles Freedom Team, which serves wounded military personnel and veterans.
“It is an amazing honor for me because I am not military and the Freedom Team is made up of military wounded veterans. They felt that because I was blown up by a bomb, being that we were all involved with terrorism, we were connected in the way I sustained my injuries.”
Unbelievably, this past April 2016, Fucarile participated in the Boston Marathon, his first full marathon as a hand-cyclist.
To say that Marc Fucarile is inspirational is an understatement. But when asked what inspires him, he pointed to the support he’s received.
“The support is what’s important. Bill McCade ran a marathon for everyday I was in the hospital: 100 marathons, 2620 miles, over 7 continents. He is in his late sixty’s. I thought if he can do that, I can do a few.”
Going forward, Fucarile hopes to participate in more marathons. But unfortunately due to limited spots he is unable to participate in as many as he would like. Out of over six hundred marathons held a year in the United States, few allow hand cycles and offer a limited number of spots.
Fucarile feels that participating in these events is a way to say thank you to everyone who supports him. He wants “to show them that [he’s] not just sitting around doing nothing. [He’s] trying to motivate and help other people.” But more importantly he hopes that in participating in these types of events, he can inspire someone to make a life change.
“Seeing someone in my position or someone from Team Achilles, that we are making the best of a hard situation can inspire someone to make the best out of theirs.”
If you would like to support Team Achilles go to www.achillesinternational.org to make a donation or get involved.