BOSTON (CBS) – She’s a little girl with a big dream and her determination and her wheelchair is going to take her there. The 9-year-old says she wants to win the Boston Marathon. That is, when she’s old enough to compete. But in the near term she’s got her eye on a special race this weekend that’s designed for everyone.
“I started racing when I was five years old, and I’ve been racing since,” says Maddie Wilson from Spencer.
At age nine, she’s already a race veteran. “I’ve been in, maybe, 45,” she says. She’s the youngest person to compete in the Falmouth Road Race and she just won the Tufts 10K in her division.
“I was born with spina bifida,” she says. Which means her legs don’t work and she uses a wheelchair.
She was inspired to become a wheelchair racer when she saw Tatyana McFadden win the 2013 Boston Marathon. “And I was telling mommy and daddy, ‘mommy and daddy, I want to have a racing wheelchair,’” she remembers.
“I think it gives her a sense of accomplishment even though she has a disability, so that she can do anything she puts her mind to,” says Jennifer Wilson, Maddie’s mother.
On Saturday, Oct. 13 Maddie competes in the Play Brigade 5K on Boston Common, a race for both disabled and able bodied people. Dawn Oates started the Play Brigade race last year when she realized there was nothing like it for her daughter who is disabled.
“The race is a broader community race. Whether you’re going to come out and you’re going to walk, run or wheel your way through this race, it’s a race that can match you at whatever your ability is and we have a place for you,” she says.
Maddie’s younger sister Abby will run the 5K with her. “Maddie is really fast. I like having a sister like Maddie,” she says.
Maddie takes the long view. When she’s 18 she plans to tackle the Boston Marathon, and her goal is nothing less than a win. “I’m going to try, so let’s hope so. We’ll see,” she says.
The Play Brigade 5K starts at 9am on Oct. 13th on the Boston Common.