BOSTON (CBS) — It’s the story of the marathon champ and her biggest fan: an almost 10-year-old who was inspired to compete as a wheelchair athlete after seeing her idol win it all in Boston. The bond between Tatyana McFadden and young Maddie Wilson began six years ago.
They’re from different generations, but very much alike. Maddie Wilson is about to turn 10, and five-time Boston Marathon winner Tatyana McFadden is about to hit 30. Both were born with spina bifida, and both are hardworking, hard-training athletes and determined friends.
Tatyana is Maddie’s inspiration. “I first saw Tatyana in the Boston Marathon when I was four,” Maddie says. That was 2013 and Tatyana’s first Boston win, and that was when it all began for Maddie.
“I was thinking, oh maybe I want a racing chair, maybe for my birthday, and I got a racing chair for my fifth birthday. I did my first 5K when I was six,” she says. Since then, Maddie has competed in about 50 races, and become close to her idol.
“It makes me so happy. I guess that’s part of being an elite athlete, as a mentor to someone, and I love it,” says Tatyana.
Maddie has her competitive eyes on the future: the Boston Marathon when she turns 18. “I think it’s pretty cool,” she says.
“It’s exciting. I’m excited for you to be out there when you’re 18,” Tatyana tells her.
Maddie will be watching Tatyana again on Marathon Monday. “I’m hoping she wins,” Maddie says. And she has excellent race advice for her friend. “Go really fast!”
Maddie turns 10 on Sunday. Just eight years until she’s eligible for Boston.