Georgetown young runner focused on 2024 Paralympic Games
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) – As the world prepares to cheer on some of the greatest athletes of the upcoming Olympics, future hopefuls right here in central Kentucky are striving to one day reach their own goals for greatness.
For the past six years, WKYT’s Amber Philpott has followed the story of Katie Eddington, a Georgetown girl seriously injured in a lawnmower accident.
Now at 12, Eddington is focusing on her own gold medal, but in another set of games, after that devastating accident, she set her on a new path in life.
When we first introduced you to Eddington, then 6, in 2015, she was a brave little girl who had been in a terrible accident.
His mutilated leg bore the scars visible from being accidentally run over by the family’s lawn mower at his Georgetown home.
We were there when she decided her leg needed amputation and we watched her as she made up her mind to master biking, swimming, then the 5k run.
“I watched her walk down Main Street in Georgetown in the Finley 5K and it brought tears to my eyes, really,” said Matthew Nunn.
Over the years, Katie’s journey has touched a lot of people and along the way there has always been someone to cheer her on.
“I have known Katie and her family for several years. I have known her story as she progressed. I followed it and it’s an inspiring story, ”Nunn said.
Katie started running soon after her amputation and she never slowed down.
At 12, she is now focusing on athletics and training with a new sense of purpose.
“I used to do it just for fun and always do it for fun, but it’s more of a challenge than I would say,” said Katie Eddington.
Katie trains weekly, has spent the summer competing and working for the National Junior Adaptive Sports competition in Colorado.
Between coaching, travel and competitions it can be expensive.
And that’s where people like Matthew Nunn and the company he works for for Toyota Tsusho American come in.
“We basically sponsor her travel expenses and her training and things that are involved so that she can compete at the highest level,” Nunn said.
Earlier this summer, Katie competed in the Endeavor Games, another high profile competition for athletes with a physical disability.
On the runway, she says she felt at home with those who share her similar scars.
If you ask her trainer, hard work pays off.
“Blow up the competition, I mean to be honest,” said Jackie Duvall.
Jackie Duvall and Katie have been training together for the past year.
Duvall says she never saw Katie as anything other than an athlete.
“The type of fighting I see in Katie is something you don’t see all the time,” Duvall said.
Duvall, an accomplished former varsity athlete on the track herself, knows a thing or two about toughness.
She says she sees nothing but tenacity every time Katie gets on the track with her.
“To see what type of athlete she is and to fight through things that a lot of other athletes don’t have to fight just to get up and say hello, I’m going to run today, I’m going go out there and sprint today, I’m going to go train today. Whatever it is, that’s what she teaches me, ”said Duvall.
Being a sponsored athlete at just 12 years old can seem like a lot.
“Once you get on the track it all goes away, like the stress, obviously it stays, but it goes away when you run,” Katie said.
Already this summer she has won several medals, but it’s not the equipment but the friendships between those who have lost limbs that really keep her going.
“I think about it, how if I hadn’t had a leg amputated, I wouldn’t have met all the people I met and I wouldn’t have met all the people like me.” , said Eddington.
She’s a young girl who never let anything stop her.
Katie Eddington continues to put one foot and now a racing blade in front of the other, not looking back, but focused on the finish line.
Eddington is in Colorado this week for the National Junior competition.
She competes in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races.
As she focuses on the race ahead this week, her ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
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