MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly 3,000 runners from around the state started Independence Day with the “Red White & Boom!” Twin Cities Half Marathon and Relay in Minneapolis.
Only two runners got to do it as a team.
Siblings Nikki Ronnan and Mike Ewaldt have run in several races together, including two marathons.
Ewaldt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age and cannot run in the conventional way, so his sister pushes him in a special chair.
The activity calls for Ronnan to push about 170 pounds as she runs.
During the race on Friday, the pair tried to show race officials they can run safely among other runners during the full Twin Cities Marathon in October.
Executive Director Virginia Brophy Achman with Twin Cities in Motion says the organization will make a decision soon on whether or not the duo can run the October race.
“We consider things like what their pace is, what their time is and how it compares to our criteria because we have to be, obviously, mindful of all our participants,” Brophy Achman said. “And safety is absolutely first and foremost for us.”
Ronnan insists she and her brother can keep up with everyone, can keep away from possibly harming other runners with the chair and do not need any special accommodations.
“We just want a chance to run like everyone else and see the beautiful scenery and feel the energy of the Twin Cities marathon,” Ronnan said.
The siblings began training together a few years ago after Ewaldt said he wanted to win a medal in a race.
Since then, Ronnan said her brother have gained more mobility and core strength through sitting upright in his chair during their runs.
“We are absolutely a team. When I get tired, Mike keeps me going. And when Mike gets tired, I keep him going,” Ronnan said. “He’s the heart and I’m the legs.”
Friends and fellow runners in Ronnan’s Stillwater club helped raise more than $2,000 for Ewadlt’s special race chair.