EXCLUSIVE: The Man Behind the Mask – Why Darth Vader Keeps Running After Leg Amputation
It's not about how you finish the race but whether you finish the race. And Darth Vader of Canandaigua is proof. The Marine Corps vet may have been last at the Boilermaker but his perseverance is inspiring thousands.
Darth had below the knee amputation surgery on January 4th. But it hasn't slowed him down. "Since January I've done 7 triathlons, 8 half marathons, 7 tough mudders, a 4 miler and the 15K at the Boilermaker."
When I’m on my death bed I want nothing more than to reflect on my life and know I soaked in the sights, sounds, fun and relationships I made along the way
Most people would quit running after amputation but Darth isn't most people. "It gives me something to look forward to and it makes me feel alive," he says. "It helps me to push myself physically and mentally. You can take both of my legs, I will find a way to continue to participate in not only races, but in life itself."
The drive and determination Darth shows not only in racing but in life is inspiring others, something he says was uncomfortable for him at first. "I'm not going out there to run my races to inspire other people. I'm out there to complete the races. It took me awhile to digest that inspiration aspect but I realized it'd be selfish to not consider other people who need someone to look up to. Because I need people to help inspire me."
Racing is in Darth's blood. Before his amputation he took part in plenty of races around the country but he says the Boilermaker is one of his favorites. "You feel that liveliness, that electricity throughout the event from the crowd. It's hard to not get swept up emotionally by the support. Even being the last person on the course, there were still a lot of people out there cheering for me."
There's isn't any rest for the weary. Darth is getting ready to run another race in less than a week and will continue to run until his body gives out. "When I’m on my death bed I want nothing more than to reflect on my life and know I soaked in the sights, sounds, fun and relationships I made along the way. My journey will not be filled with regrets."