FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marathon Contact: John Bradley
Office Phone: (435) 634-5850 office
Family Contact: Adam Eliason
Home Phone: (909) 628-8604
Cell Phone: (909) 706-7193
NEW! FIRST HONORARY ST. GEORGE MARATHON PARTICIPANT
St. George (August 30, 2006) -For most of the past 15 years of Sam
Eliason’s life he has come to St. George, Utah to watch his father, mother,
brother, three sisters, one brother-in-law, five uncles, one aunt, and one
cousin complete the St. George Marathon. But this year Sam gets to
participate as the first St. George Marathon Honorary Participant.
At 9 months old, Sam had a near drowning accident. The lack of oxygen to
his brain caused a condition known as cerebral palsy. This affects Sam’s
motor skills and ability to easily communicate and denies him the ability
to walk. His life since then has consigned him to an electric wheelchair.
Today Sam is 15 years old, a sophomore in high school in Payson Utah, and
is in good health and intellect, except for his physical limitations.
In 1989 Sam’s father started the Eliason tradition of running the St.
George Marathon. Now 17 years later, a handful of Eliason family members
run the St. George Marathon each year. Between 20 and 30 family members
make the trek each year, making the St. George Marathon weekend somewhat of
a family reunion. In the year 2000, the Eliason Family was presented the
Del Monte Award at the St. George Marathon not only for the 8 family
members who ran that year, but for the extraordinary trials some of the
family runners overcame to participate in the event.
Each of those years you can find Sam near the finish line with the rest of
the Eliason family offering words of encouragement to all the runners but
in particular to the various Eliason family runners all coming in at
different times. "It is rather motivating during particularly painful
parts of the marathon to realize that family members are waiting at the
finish line," states Sam’s Uncle, Adam Eliason. "However, it is
particularly emotional to see Sam among the family members, in his
wheelchair, showing the utmost sportsmanship, despite his handicap…that’s
why we wanted Sam to participate and that’s why the Organizing Committee
approved his participation."
As an Honorary Marathon Participant, Sam won’t be just watching the runners
finish this year but instead will have various Eliason family members unite
in the effort to push him the entire 26.2 miles.
Instead of watching his family leave early marathon morning Sam will join
the other runners at the starting line, stay warm around the fire pits,
hear the national anthem, cheer the wheelchair participants as they start,
and be a part of the excitement of the start of the 2006 St. George
Marathon. He’s heard all the stories but this is his year to experience
the event and the entire Eliason family is supporting him.
A "special needs" jogger has been purchased by the donations of all the
Eliason family members and will enable various Eliason family runners to
push Sam the entire distance of the course. As training for the marathon
is a daily regiment around the Eliason home, Sam will be lifted into bed
and often ask "how many miles are you doing tomorrow?" The distinction of
Honorary Participant has motivated Sam to focus on his own "training" an
effort to show he is doing his part to ready himself for the special
day…the day he will be surrounded by runners on all sides and let his
imaginations, for at least 26.2 miles and beyond, go as far as it can.