Today is Alex Zanardi’s birthday. It’s also mine. There have been several well-known people born on October 23, such as Pele, Johnny Carson, and (ha) Weird Al Yankovic to name a few. But I’ve always felt a tiny connection with Alex because we were literally born on the very same day (same year). I also had the thrill of being seated at the bottom of Laguna Seca’s corkscrew to see Alex complete “The Pass” live and in person.
As most readers of this site will know, Alex Zanardi was a superstar in the CART series in the late 90’s, winning the championship in 1997 and 1998. After a failed attempt at Formula One in 1999, he returned to CART in 2001, only to lose both of his legs in a horrific racing accident at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany. But it’s not as if the story ends there, as so many others might. Alex Zanardi has since proven himself to be an extraordinary man, not just in his ability to overcome extreme physical challenges (and actually return to racing), but in his ability to project a positive outlook on life and inspire others as well.
Just the latest example of this is Alex’s intention to compete in this year’s New York City Marathon in a specially-equipped “hand-bike” which can be seen in the photo above. That’s incredible! I can’t even imagine the kind of dedication and determination it takes to train for and attempt something like this. It makes my frequent inability to get my butt out of bed and onto the treadmill even more pathetic than it already is.
So happy birthday Alex, and GOOD LUCK in the NYC Marathon. You are truly an inspiration to us all.
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