Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes. John Young is the perfect example of that. In running marathons, Young has inspired his son and millions more.
Standing at 4’4″ (132cm), John Young is the embodiment of the saying “big things come in small packages”.
Young has dwarfism but that hasn’t stopped him from being a source of inspiration for his 13-year-old son, Owen, and marathon runners everywhere. John has run in six marathons, 10 mini-marathons, and 36 triathlons since 2008. He may be small in stature but his heart is massive, and it shows through his hard work, dedication, and passion.
It all started about a decade ago when John was overweight (195 lbs), suffered from sleep apnea, and was at serious risk for heart problems. Young knew his complications would only grow worse unless he made a change in his life. That’s when he decided, for himself and for his family, to try out swimming, running, and biking. Over time, he decided to put his body to the test and began regularly competing in mini-marathons, marathons, and even triathlons.
“I think when it’s people of short stature, other people that are physically challenged, that’s where I get the most satisfaction out of it. Because I know what it’s like to be laughed at and pointed at when you’re different,” said Young in his interview with Erica Hill and the cast of Today.
John has competed in some of the most notable marathons in America since deciding to change his life. Of these world famous marathons: The New York Marathon and The Boston Marathon. In fact, John recorded his best ever time in a marathon during last year’s New York Marathon.
While John initially started training for marathons to test his body, he knows now that he truly does it to inspire his son, Owen, and other people of all sizes. Young told Today, “When I did my first triathlon and he watched me finish, I remember the first thing he said to me was, ‘Dad, did you win?’ and I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘Why are you so happy?’ I said, ”Because I did my best. And it was great. I had a lot of fun.”
“If he hadn’t started [racing], then I probably would’ve still been fussing over about how I’m shorter than most other people, and that I usually keep coming in last place. It’s just helped me realize that it really doesn’t matter what place you come in. It just matters if you finish…what you started,” said Owen as he proudly sat alongside his father during the interview.
Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes. John Young is the perfect example of that. Keep on running, John!
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