Friday, 15 January 2010 00:00
For the first time in the history of competitive distance running, an athlete with a prosthetic leg has won the overall title in a race. On Jan 1, below-the-knee amputee Amy Palmiero-Winters of Hicksville, an employee of A Step Ahead Prosthetics and director of Team A Step Ahead, took first place at the Arizona Road Racers “Run to the Future” 24-hour ultramarathon.
Running 217 laps of a certified six-tenths of a mile course over twenty-four hours, Palmiero-Winters completed 130.4 miles to place first among all runners, both male and female.
At the ultramarathon – which began at 9 a.m. Dec. 31 and finished at 9 a.m. New Year’s Day at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale, AZ – Palmiero-Winters beat the overall male winner by 14 miles and bettered the second-place female finisher by over 36 miles.
Based on this performance, Palmiero-Winters qualified for the United States able-bodied 24-hour run team that will be competing at the world championship in Brive, France in May 2010. This is the first time an amputee runner will be running against able-bodied counterparts on a world championship team.
This amazing accomplishment caps off a very busy and successful year for Palmiero-Winters, which included running five, 50-mile trail runs as part of the North Face Challenge; two, 100-mile ultramarathons, which qualify her for the Western States Trail run in 201; and fulfilling her requirements for the Adventure CORPS Badwater Ultramarathon.
At the Heartland 100-mile trail run in Cassoday, KS, Palmiero-Winters finished first-place overall female, making her the first amputee to win a 100-mile race. For these endeavors, she was recognized by USA Track and Field as the athlete of the week in October 2009 and was listed by The Washington Times as one of the top 10 runners of the decade.
Palmiero-Winters stands apart from most other athletes - not because of her ability to win, but because of the disability she must overcome. She is a 37-year-old mother of two as well as a coach and mentor. She became a below-the-knee amputee as the result of a 1994 motorcycle accident.
Prior to losing her leg, Palmiero-Winters ran track in high school and completed the Boston Marathon in three hours and sixteen minutes. Her athletic achievements have proven her ability to overcome adversity and accomplish more than many other athletes with disabilities. She serves as a role model for both millions of people with disabilities and anyone else, able-bodied or not, who strives to overcome limitations. Palmiero-Winters has proven that despite physical challenges, family, and work commitments, if you believe that you can do something, you can.