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14-year-old girl with spastic quadriplegia walks final metres of Athens Marathon

Marianna Avgoustaki, a 14-year-old with spastic quadriplegia, completed the Athens Marathon by walking the final metres of the race

Marianna Avgoustaki participated in the 36th annual Athens Marathon on November 11th. She was pushed in a wheelchair by her family for nearly the entire race, but a few metres from the start line she got up and walked the final steps. 

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Avgoustaki has spastic quadriplegia, which is the most severe of the three types of cerebral palsy and marked by the inability to use the legs, arms and body. Most people with spastic quadriplegia are unable to walk. 

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Photo: Proto Thema.

Greek publication Proto Thema wrote that running a marathon was Avgoustaki’s dream. Her cousins and brothers are all runners, and she hoped to complete one one day. She was reportedly born premature and diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia with a 90 percent kinetic disability. Since birth, Avgoustaki has been participating in physical therapy. Her father Haris Avgoustakis told Proto Thema, “She is a girl, who has taught us many life lessons from the day that she was born.” Nikola Gavrilovia crossed the finish line with Avgoustaki in 4:50:17. The family finished together in just under five hours. 

The Athens Marathon calls itself the “authentic marathon” and the course finishes in the Panathenaic Stadium. The event is run every year in early November.