Runner completes Virginia Beach half marathon despite foot paralysis

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Beth Deloria knows the feeling that comes at the start of a big race, and she knows what it’s like to cross the finish line.

“It’s just an incredible experience, a big rush and a sense of accomplishment,” she says.

Deloria is an athlete. A runner. A Boston Marathoner. But ten years ago, she thought she’d never see a finish line again.

“Running was really important to me,” she says. “I never realized how important it was until I really thought I’d never be able to do it again.”

Deloria had a series of birth defects that created what she calls a “perfect storm.” In 2004, she suffered a spinal injury and developed a type of paralysis called foot drop. In simple terms, it means she can no longer lift her left foot, making walking and running difficult or impossible.

Not being able to run chipped away at Deloria’s sense of identity, to the point where she began to develop depression.

“I decided if there’s any way, shape or form I can get back, I want to find something that allows me to run again,” says Deloria, who spent the next two years searching for a solution.

Eventually, she found a brace that holds her ankle at a 90-degree angle, lets her feel sensation all the way up her leg, and most importantly, got her racing again.

“To think I would never get back here as a runner was really heartbreaking,” she says, standing at the finish line of what is now her 11th Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, and the tenth since her injury. “I have chills right now because it is just so exciting to think I’m back out here and I’m running.”

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