The first thing Ashton McCormick told his mother after he and Michael Davis crossed the finish line at the Shamrock Marathon was, “I won.”
McCormick, 17, is autistic. But thanks to the help of Davis, a legally blind man from Chesapeake, the pair braved the frigid March temperatures, driving rain and even sleet, and qualified for next year’s Boston Marathon.
“I’m extremely excited because there have been multiple people that have said this couldn’t be done,” said Davis, who will be the first blind man to push another in one of the world’s great marathons.
Through an organization known as Team Hoyt, Davis has spent the last eight years pushing others in marathons. Davis and McCormick have teamed up for the last five years. “We’ve been very close friends, and our families have become close,” said Davis.
Smiling the whole way, McCormick has found a new social identity, thanks to his interactions with others when he participates in races. “We’re not dealing with autism when he’s racing,” said his mother, Jennifer.
Jennifer admits, she doesn’t believe her son quite understands the magnitude of what he and Davis have accomplished. Still, Ashton can’t help but clap and shout how “excited” he is to race in the 2018 Boston Marathon.
“Yes!” he shouts.