Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Amputee gives hope to runner

Amy Palmeiro-Winters looked into the eyes of 12-year-old Kelli Odle and saw desire. Desire and hopes and dreams.

So Palmeiro-Winters, a record-setting amputee runner who was in Oklahoma City to compete in the Memorial Marathon, laid aside any personal goals and claimed Odle as a running partner.

Odle, who is afflicted with third-level spina bifida, has completed 5-kilometer races in her wheelchair and aspires to compete in triathlons. "You could tell she was the type of girl that was just going to follow through, almost like nothing was going to stop her,” said Palmerio-Winters. So Palmeiro-Winters, who runs with a prosthesis after her left leg was amputated below the knee in 1997, pushed Odle in her wheelchair Sunday for the 26-plus miles. They finished in 4 hours, 25 minutes and 39 seconds. Jeff Kidder, vice president for the Memorial Marathon, said when he recruited Palmeiro-Winters to Oklahoma City, she talked about breaking three hours, which would have won the women’s division. But after Palmeiro-Winters researched the Memorial Marathon, Kidder said she told him: "This isn’t a racing weekend for me. I want someone else to experience the marathon. She fell in love with Oklahoma City.” And fell for Odle, too.

Palmeiro-Winters, who lives on Long Island and works with child amputees, discovered that Odle was saving money for a hand cycle racing chair. Palmeiro-Winters made a few calls, found an anonymous donor and presented Odle and her family with a check for $1,390 to purchase the special chair. "When a 12-year-old kid has a plan laid out like that, she’s the kind of girl who believes in herself,” Palmeiro-Winters said. Palmeiro-Winters pushed Odle the whole way, but Odle wheeled during the tough stretches against the wind and uphill. "We had such a great time,” Palmeiro-Winters said. "It was icing on the cake for everything this weekend. "She was an amazing girl. That’s what hope and inspiration is all about.”



hi amy, it is your driver from okc...thanks again for coming to okc and being a part of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Caden had a blast with you at the tv station...I will send you the pictures soon....Thanks again...Kevin