U.S. & World
With burning abs and his father by his side, 30-year-old Adam Gorlitsky stepped into history books at the Surf City Marathon held Sunday in Huntington Beach.
He became the first paralyzed man to walk in the 21st annual event.
Gorlitsky, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, has walked in 12 marathons in the past year thanks to the robotic exoskeleton attached to his legs. A set like his can cost upwards of $40,000.
"There's really nothing like being a paralyzed man walking in a road race ... amongst the other able bodied runners towards that same finish line. It's really special," said Gorlitsky.
He's on a mission to make exoskeleton technology more affordable for others. His goal is to take one million steps to raise one million dollars. Sunday marked his 100,000 step — 100,000 more than he ever thought he'd take after a 2005 car accident left him paralyzed from the belly button down.
He walked the Surf City Marathon at his usual rate of 1 mile per hour. Runners passing him couldn't believe their eyes. Gorlitsky inspired at least one participant along the way.
"He gave me that extra boost. If he can do it, I can do it," said participant Juan Birseno.
Gorlitsky's father, Stan, accompanies him at every marathon.
Stan Gorlitsky said, "Everybody said he's out of mind. He's gonna die. He said, that's what I love about it."