Abdullah, just nine years old, wrote "Run a 5k" as one of his New Year's resolutions for 2022. In his family, they call them "vows," because they've found the word change has a higher success rate.
Just a few months into the new year, Abdullah crushed that 5k and crossed it off his vow list, but he had an even bigger goal in mind. He ran a four-miler in July and wanted to keep going. Knowing the Twin Cities Marathon was just around the corner and with his parent's full support, Abdullah registered for the full marathon. He even customized his bib - Awesome Guy.
While his friends spent the summer at the pool - and playground - Abdullah ran. His training runs took him all over the town of Buffalo, MN. His parents ran with him, until the miles got to be too much, then they biked next to him. When the miles creeped up, so did the pain. Abdullah struggled with ankle pain after his 16 mile training run and had to shorten his remaining long runs.
While his friends spent the summer at the pool - and playground - Abdullah ran.
His parents tried to discourage him from running the race, but Abdullah persisted.
At the start line, his parents watched as he disappeared into a sea of other runners. He ran a steady race up until mile 14 when the pain in his ankles kicked in. He thought of quitting, but at that moment he spotted his fifth grade teacher holding a sign all of his classmates had signed.
That simple gesture gave him the motivation to keep going. The cheers and encouragement from others on the route fueled him even more.
Abdullah's dad ran the last of the race with him, just like they'd done during their countless training runs, but it was all Abdullah as he came down the chute to the capitol. At just nine years old he finished his very first marathon, the youngest runner in this year's field.
And now... we all want to know what Abdullah will vow to do in 2023.