INVERCARGILL man Jack Lovett-Hurst (20) has conquered the New York City Marathon, a feat which challenges the fittest of souls.
But Lovett-Hurst’s achievement is made even more impressive by the fact he has muscular dystrophy and is wheelchair-bound.
“I am quite proud of myself and can’t believe we did it,” Lovett-Hurst said.
“I enjoyed the experience.
“It was really really hard and tough, but it was awesome.”
Lovett-Hurst and his stepfather Greg Houkamau were among more than 50,000 competitors from 125 countries who participated in the 42km race through the five boroughs of New York on Sunday, considered one of the largest marathon events in the world.
At around the halfway mark, Lovett-Hurst said he felt like he was going to be sick, but the support of the crowd, with many spectators lining the course chanting his name, had helped.
“I felt very emotional with the support that I was getting.”
The next morning he was feeling better, except for being a bit sore in the shoulders.
Lovett-Hurst’s mother, Debbie Houkamau, said it was a dream come true for her son.
At the 30km mark, her son had not been looking happy, she said.
“The pain was in his face… he was hitting the wall.
“People don’t realise how gruelling the New York Marathon is.”
Waiting for her husband and son to come over the hill with 6km to go, Mrs Houkamau said the emotion and stress in the lead-up to the event, and realising the challenge they had set themselves, hit her and she was overcome with emotion.
“As a family, [to think about] what we have been able to create, just the three of us,” she said.
The family had been overwhelmed with the amount of support they had received, with hundreds of messages of support posted on their Facebook pages, she said.
“The support meant just everything. It wouldn’t have happened without the help of family, friends and the Southland community.”