Gary Miracle is a lifelong runner who lost his limbs below the elbows and knees after developing a blood infection. After spending 117 days in a hospital, Miracle returned home determined to learn how to run on prosthetic legs. And he has proven that a miracle is possible.
Miracle took the first step toward his goal of running again in August when he joined the Tailgate 2-Miler. He finished the race in 49 minutes and 22 seconds, despite receiving his running blades only in June.
Miracle finished the race upright, supported by his sister Jennifer Falcone and his father, Gary Miracle Sr. Double-amputee marathon runner Marko Cheseto also joined the race to support Miracle. Cheseto set the world record for a double amputee in the marathon. He currently works for Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA) in Orlando, where Miracle received his new prosthetic legs.
If there’s one thing that lower-limb prosthetic users know, it’s that it takes time to learn how to walk, let alone run, on a pair of springy prostheses. Miracle only had less than three months to train, but he was undaunted. In 1999-2000, Miracle was a member of Rockledge High School’s state championship 4 x 800 relay team. He has also been a youth sports coach for many years.
Miracle practiced walking and running on his blades in his prosthetists’ facility and anywhere else he could. But when race day arrived, Miracle ran with a friction-related open wound on his left knee. Still, he finished the race. Miracle chatted with his supporters and many others along the way. He also kept an eye out for his four children—the eldest 17 and the youngest 7—all of whom joined the race. The youngest completed the race in 28 minutes and 33 seconds, then went back to meet his dad.
When he crossed the finish line, Miracle was met with cheers. Supporters hugged him, took photos with him, and marveled at what he had just accomplished.
“I’m told I’m a motivation and an inspiration every day. I don’t feel that way. This is just my life. I’m just fighting to live and figure out what it means to be alive. To have people rally around me, link arms with me, carry me, hold me, is just unbelievable.”
In an interview with Florida Today, Miracle said that the entire experience was humbling. “I’m told I’m a motivation and an inspiration every day. I don’t feel that way. This is just my life. I’m just fighting to live and figure out what it means to be alive. To have people rally around me, link arms with me, carry me, hold me, is just unbelievable,” Miracle said.
Miracle is also close friends with the contemporary Christian band Mercy Me. He’s the inspiration for their hit song “Say I Won’t.”