Paralyzed athlete competes in Highland Mud Run - WRBL

Paralyzed athlete competes in Highland Mud Run

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COLUMBUS, Ga. - It was a muddy morning for more than 1,000 runners who took part in the 2nd annual Highland Mud Right. New Three's Naomi Keitt tells us the unique story of one paralyzed participant.

It's been 21 year since 38 year old Michael Mills could walk. When he was just 16 years old, he was hit by a drunk driver and has been paralyzed from the waist down ever since.

"Of course it didn't stop me. I had a good family, a good belief system and a good group of people that stood beside me and I'm still here 21 years later," said Michael Mills.

Mills and his team of "Dirtbags" took the course by storm, Saturday. They crawled when needed and took a swim in the mud filled lakes as just a start to the miles long course.

"It's freeing. Doing something like this and being paralyzed. People think you can't do it and the whole point of doing it is to prove it can be done," said Mills.

The athlete has competed in several mud runs before. Members of More Heart than Scars have helped him in some of those events. They drove all night just so they wouldn't miss the chance to help him one more time.

"There's no way we'd miss it. Michael Mills is family," said Zackary Paben.

Mills is just one of more than 1,000 runners who showed up in Columbus to compete in the 2nd annual Highland Mud Run. The course came filled with hills, trenches, and lakes, all filled with mud.

"How can you not love this environment? These people, these obstacles, getting muddy. It's just a really fun way to work out and be fit," said Shenoa Creer.

The proceeds from the run go to support several projects for special needs children. Camp Twin Lakes, a camp for children with severe illnesses or disabilities and Prayers for Maddie which benefits a local 2 year old girl with an inoperable brain tumor are some of those organizations. Mills says he loves that events like the run raise money for a good cause.

"What little bit you're paying for a little bit of fun out here can help a child for a lifetime," said Mills.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

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