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Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein refuses to let setbacks and pain stop him from continuing to run marathons.
Bernstein will participate Sunday in the 42nd annual Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Bernstein became the state’s first blind supreme court justice when he was elected in 2014. Two years before that, he had been training for a marathon in Central Park in New York City when he was struck by a speeding bicyclist.
Bernstein’s hip was shattered, and his pelvis was crushed in the New York incident. He spent 10 weeks immobilized in a New York hospital while he healed. Running and sitting for long periods are painful, although he is able to walk without pain.
He plans to run and walk while tethered to a guide. He expects to be in pain when he runs and in the marathon aftermath.
“The goal is just to get through the marathon and then let it just explode and be on fire for the next couple of weeks,” he told the Detroit Free Press.
Bernstein told the newspaper that he continues to participate in marathons because he doesn’t want a life change to stop him from doing what he has always done.
“The pain gets to be something you are actually proud of,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “It symbolizes work, effort and perseverance. The pain represents triumph, rather than a setback.”
Bernstein has run five marathons in New York since the incident, but none in Detroit. He ran 17 marathons before the incident.
Bernstein didn’t sue the cyclist who hit him, but he sued New York City in a bid to force safety improvements in Central Park to reduce the risk of bike-pedestrian incidents. Two people were struck and killed by cyclists before New York made safety improvements.