Wounded Warrior Tackles Bandera 25K - Page 2At mile four, the first problem struck: a bolt had fallen off the back of Eduard’s prosthetic. We pulled over to the side of the trail, and he was able to fix it by securing it with a strap.
Photo courtesy of Charles Seligman
Several miles later, though, the sole he’d used for tread on his prosthetic foot blade began to disintegrate, leaving the carbon-fiber blade prone to damage. For the rest of the race, we used a variety of creative tweaks to maintain tread under his blade—at first clothespins, then yellow “caution” tape we found on the trail. A passing runner even offered the drawstring from the waistband of her running shorts—but eventually, Eduard resorted to simply using his other shoe. He adapted it to his left-foot prosthetic, and ran the next few miles sock-footed on his right side.
The fact that, now, his uninjured leg and the prosthetic one were at very different heights, threw off his ability to run. That’s when, providentially, the course sweepers happened upon us and offered us some moleskin and, if we could make it to the next aid station, a pair of shoes. At Eduard’s behest, we moleskinned a gel pad removed from his prosthetic to the bottom of his foot and replaced his sock. This was a great fix for about a mile—after which we ended up using a strap from the prosthetic to hold the gel pad in place.
At the aid station we met with Mitch Allen and Dr. James Ficke, who donated fresh shoes. With a Salomon on his prosthetic blade and a Brooks on his foot, both right shoes, Eduard strode out of that aid station like a thoroughbred horse.
I looked at Michelle and said, “Let’s just keep him in sight, and hopefully we will catch up when he tires or hits another obstacle.” At some point, Eduard did slow down and we were able to catch up and run the final five miles together with no more issues.
Earlier on, I had feared we would be lucky to even limp across the finish line—but when Eduard ran across that mat at the finish, it was to the cheers of a roaring crowd.
Eduard said somewhere in the middle of the race that there’s not an obstacle he couldn’t get past, and he proved it at Bandera. No one has ever deserved a finisher’s medal more.
All authored materials constitute the personal statements of Charles Seligman and are not intended to constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Air Force or any other Federal Government entity.