Lehigh Valley

Runners World Half Marathon shows determination of Dan Lasko

Half marathon shows determination of some

Running 13 miles is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but for two competitors in Sunday's Runners World Half Marathon at Bethlehem's SteelStacks, it's a feat of pure determination.

For most competitors, the race was hard enough.

"It's kind of a feeling like nothing else," said runner Megan Moran.  "It's almost like a little addiction, like you want to keep doing them."

Now imagine doing it with just one leg.

"This morning, I ran 13.1 miles," said runner Dan Lasko.

Lasko doesn't have to imagine.  As a Marine in 2004, he was injured just one month after arriving in Afghanistan.

"The convoy I was in struck two IEDs and I lost my leg below the knee," he said.

Lasko battled multiple surgeries and physical therapies at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

"I had no idea what a prosthetic leg even looked like," he said.  "I didn't know if it was made out of wood.  I was kind of a little bit nervous."

But at that moment, instead of deciding that his life was over, Lasko decided that this was the moment that his life would really begin.  He began training for triathalons, and ran his first full marathon in 2008. 

Along the way, he's inspired others.  Runners like Janet Oberholtzer, a Berks Co. woman critically injured in a car accident.  Her leg is still disfigured.

"Seeing Dan, who, with the obstacles he's had with being an amputee and being out here running, inspires me," she said.

Lasko even inspires those he hasn't met.

"I think it's amazing that he had the courage to come out here and do it, and that he ran the whole thing," said runner Erin Moran.

After all, life isn't a sprint -- it's a marathon.

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