FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) -- In just one week, 30,000 runners will line up to compete in this year’s Boston Marathon.

Among those preparing for the big race is a wheelchair athlete from West Hartford.

Harry McKinstry has been an athlete his whole life.

“I love to compete, I love to push myself,” McKinstry said.

At the age of 24, Harry suffered a brain injury while working for a construction company.

A two-ton beam landed on the back of his head and he ended up in a coma for three months.

Despite that, his hard work and perseverance over several years have qualified him to compete in the New York city marathon twice, and now the Boston Marathon.

“I really enjoy what I’m doing. So there’s really no difficult part,” said McKinstry, who is also a Navy veteran.

He does all the work using his customized wheelchair.

He pedals backward, and his guides alert him to any dangers.

“You look at him and you go he’s not doing 26 miles, you’re kidding me. Actually, he is, he beats us. Actually, some of the longer runs we have to have him slow down,” said Monte Wagner, an Achilles guide for Team Harry.

The guides are volunteers through Achilles International, an organization that enables people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events.

“He’s a great motivation for all of us. He makes us laugh the whole time we run with him,” said Michelle Desmarais, an Achilles guide.

They say his positive attitude is what helps those 26-mile marathons go by so fast.

Harry’s ability to stay positive in the face of hardship is perhaps what’ll count most come marathon Monday.

Achilles will have 59 athletes participating in the Boston marathon.

To learn more about the international organization, click here.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.