Blind 11-Year-Old Girl Completes Honolulu Marathon

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Dec. 13, 2011
  • Updated Dec. 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM UTC
Wakana Ueda tears up after finishing the Honolulu Marathon last weekend. Photo: MSNBC

It took her fourteen hours, but she did it.

Wakana Ueda tears up after finishing the Honolulu Marathon last weekend. Photo: MSNBC

Nearly every large-city marathon has a story of someone overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to finish the race, but this story out of Hawaii in especially poignant. Eleven-year-old Wakana Ueda of Japan is blind, and last Sunday she completed the 26.2-mile race by following the sounds of cheering and her own mother’s chanting.

Fourteen hours, three minutes, and two seconds after she started the race, Ueda came across the finish line with tears in her eyes. Her support team, made up of her extended family, lined the route to the finish with flower petals.

But Ueda’s journey was hardly easy. ”Before the halfway mark her leg was cramping up, and she was thinking about quitting many times,” Ueda’s mother explained through a translator. ”But because the team supported her, she was able to finish.”

Approximately 19,000 runners took part in Hawaii’s largest marathon, the 39th edition this year, and America’s fifth-largest marathon.

For More: New York Daily News

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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