Positive pushes: Program pairs runners with disabled children for unique racing experience

Deseret News – Front Page Sports Section – By Amy Donaldson – July 9, 2013

Reese Thorne cannot walk or talk, but he loves to race.

“When you say, ‘Do you want to go racing?’ he gets so excited his whole body starts moving and shaking,” said Carla Thorne of her 9-year-old son. “He loves to go fast. What little boy doesn’t want to go fast?”

Thorne is able to race because of runners like Charles Stoddard. The 37-year-old heard about an organization called Push to the Finish from a friend and fellow runner, Angela Green. Push to the Finish, an 18-month-old nonprofit, was started by Andrew McMahon, who was simply looking for a way to bring the joy of running to those who otherwise might never experience it.

“I’ve been a runner my entire life,” said McMahon, a 37-year-old father of two. “I thought, ‘What if we could take different charities for the disabled in Utah and mix them with different running groups? It would give them the chance to experience running, and it gives runners a different running experience.’ It’s different running for someone else, which is why our motto is ‘Our legs, their hearts.’”

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