WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As thousands of seasoned runners prepare for this weekend’s Battleship Half Marathon, race veteran Michael Friant is warming up to run his fourteenth race in just two years.
Friant is a runner, advocate and aspiring motivational speaker that happens to be living with cerebral palsy.
“I see it as a hurdle to overcome but by far not a limitation. However, I have to push back on people who think it’s a limitation,” said Friant.
Cerebral palsy is neurological disorder that affects muscular function and causes speech impediments, lack of muscle coordination, and muscle tightness.
You may think someone with a disorder that affects muscle function wouldn’t be an avid runner, but that’s not the case for Friant.
“I did the Miracle League 5K in 2018 and when I crossed the finish line, my friend jokingly asked me if I wanted to do it again. Of course, I took it as a dare, so my next race would be the Bald Head Island 10K,” said Friant.
The runner can certainly teach you a lesson on determination and also one on how to treat others.
“If we were treated the same regardless of our disabilities, we would not have to spend our lives advocating for what would seem like obvious gestures. For example, I currently only have one core group of friends that see me as normal. We can tell when you are treating us differently and it’s not pleasant,” said Friant.
His mindset is focused on the future, tackling the next race and coincidentally, the next stereotype.
“My ultimate goal for running is to at least do a marathon, but I would love to do those off trail races as well. As an advocate, I would love to grow my following on social media to a point where I can get sponsored trying new things and traveling the world. I am a firm believer that the only way for people to grow is to challenge yourself,” said Friant.
When asked where his motivation comes from, his answer is forthright.
“It’s honestly just hope. I’m not always happy. I have my down times and I get frustrated with my circumstances, but I always have to remind myself that there’s always someone worse off than I am,” said Friant.