DALLAS — At first glance, bib runner 3474 looks no different than any other 1/2 marathoner running 13.1 miles on a brisk March morning.
But it amazing to see what happens when Beth Deloria pulls off a two-pound black kevlar brace with Velcro straps from around her ankle.
"I cannot move it up and down," she explained. "It's paralyzed."
Deloria’s strength and courage to run with physical challenges earned her a new level of respect from absolute strangers, including students from Pinkston High School.
"That's like... awesome!" said Juan Guereca.
Two years ago, undetected birth defects paralyzed the muscles in Deloria's lower leg. She literally cannot lift her ankle or walk without a limp.
Yet with this brace, she's running 48 marathons in 24 months — including the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon. Deloria finished Sunday's event in two hours and 15 minutes (in 39 degree weather).
"I would take this in the cold and rain in hail... or anything!" she said with a smile. "Anything beats being stuck and watching everybody else able to do it."
Deloria's mission is to inspire others — especially those with physical challenges — "to get back up" and get moving.
She also inspired a group of high school students from Pinkston, whose only problem on Sunday morning was the weather.
"It was cold... never mind. I was frozen," they said.
Several even considered dropping out of the race, but thanks to Deloria’s inspiration, they all crossed the finish line.
And now the Pinkston students hope, in turn, to inspire their West Dallas community to exercise.
“That's a place where people put [exercise] down just constantly, and I feel like when we come back with these medals — which are just awesome — we are representing," Juan Guereca said.