BOSTON (CBS) – Every year, we’re moved and amazed by the stories of everyday people who run the Boston Marathon.
In two weeks, 26-year-old Greg Schwartz of Medfield will become just the third Special Olympics athlete to ever run Boston for the organization.
“People are always amazed by what he can do,” Greg’s mother, Patti Schwartz, recently told WBZ-TV. “We were told he would never make Eagle Scout, but he was determined and worked really hard to do it, because it was something he wanted to attain.”
Schwartz was born with Microcephaly – a significantly smaller head and brain than average, resulting in developmental issues. Seizures as an infant caused brain damage, and Schwartz is blind in one eye as a result.
But none of that has stopped him from loving sports.
“I play soccer, flag football, basketball, track and field and softball,” said Greg, adding he just took home another gold medal for basketball over the summer.
Somewhere along the way, Greg decided he wanted to run the Boston Marathon.
“This was my dream,” he said. “It’s on my bucket list.”
And don’t tell him he’s too young to have a bucket list.
“Like hell,” he said emphatically. “What age? Too young, too old, in the middle — either way you have a bucket list.”
Greg ran his first half marathon with his younger sister last fall in Kansas City, finishing in 1:47. So his mother called the Special Olympics, who gave him a spot on their team, and Greg started training.
That led him to Susan Hurley, founder of Charity Teams – an organization that helps charity runners prepare for Boston. She said Greg’s training for Boston has seemed effortless, and he’s the fastest member of the team.
“They told me he had Microcephaly, and I didn’t even know what that was. I said, ‘Sure, we’d love to have him,'” said Hurley. “It’s been wonderful ever since… We all love him. He’s wonderful to have around and he definitely lifts us all up.”
Hurley said she has run too many Marathons to count, but has run each of the last eight Boston Marathons. She is one of two guides who will run with Greg on race day.
“It’s a team effort. The goal is to get Greg to the finish line, safely, and have a wonderful experience with the Boston Marathon,” she said.
“Being a mom, I’m sensitive to all the issues he might encounter out there, so we make a great team together,” added Hurley. “And he looks out for me, which is really cool. He’ll say, ‘Slow down’ or cheer me on. We can really read each other really well.
“He’s a natural athlete. He has natural talent and runs effortless out there,” said Hurley. “I think he will get to the finish line very easily, and will be waiting for everyone else and cheering everyone else on.”
Schwartz have overcome a lot in his life, and it sure doesn’t look like he has any plans of slowing down.
“[Sports have] given him a lot of confidence, and he feels like he is part of something. In Greg’s eyes, he can do anything,” said Patti, unsure what Greg’s next challenge will be.
“I have a feeling he’s going to get bit by the bug and want to run the Marathon again,” she said.
To donate to Gregory Schwartz’s fundraiser visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/specialolympicsboston2015/fundraiser/gregoryschwartz
Stay tuned for more coverage of the 119th Boston Marathon on CBSBoston.com and WBZ-TV — the exclusive local broadcast home of the Boston Marathon!