The inspiring stories of last-place marathon runners

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(CNN)When Simon Kindleysides crossed the finish line at the Virgin Money London Marathon this year, what followed was a blur — but he became a “superhero” to his kids, and he set a world record in becoming the first paralyzed man to complete the race on foot.He was the final finisher.When David Fraser crossed the finish line at the TCS New York City Marathon last year, it marked his 10th time completing that race, using his toes to push his wheelchair to the finish line.He was the final finisher.When Amina Abdul-Jalil crossed the finish line this year at an inaugural half-marathon in Atlanta called The Race, she never felt more proud. She accomplished something she didn’t think she could with asthma, but because of her history of depression, running has been a “lifesaver.”Read MoreShe was the final finisher.Lisa Jackson has run 110 marathons and ultramarathons around the world. After each, she has a tradition of sleeping with the new medal around her neck to celebrate her accomplishment.In 25 of those races, she was the final finisher — and she revels in coming in last. JUST WATCHEDThe history of running recordsReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH The history of running records 01:06The world often hears the inspiring stories of elite athletes who finish first after running 26.2 miles in marathon races. For instance, Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan broke the finish line tape at the New York City Marathon last year, becoming the first American woman to do so in 40 years. This year’s marathon is scheduled to kick off Sunday morning.Yet there are equally inspiring stories among the athletes who make up the back of the pack. As Peter Ciaccia, director of the New York City marathon, puts it, “for every runner, there’s a story.””They have their own reasons why they’re doing what they’re doing and they’re putting in all that time and energy to train,” he said. “Every one of those folks that crossed the finish line are inspiring, from the first to the final finish.” On average, it takes bout 4½ hours for men and women to complete a marathon, Ciaccia said, but that time can vary drastically among racers.Ahead of Sunday’s New York City Marathon, where more than 50,000 people are expected to travel through the five boroughs, here are four inspirational stories from the last racers in half- and full marathons.One thing they have in common: They never gave up.’Even when I was able-bodied, I took plenty for granted’As Simon Kindleysides, 34, took his first steps in the London Marathon in April, it felt as if magic was in the air. “As we were walking toward the first mile, we actually started blending in with all the runners,” he said. “Everyone was on the streets, cheering, and that was a magical moment.”As time went on, the crowds and other racers dispersed. Kindleysides and his team of eight supporters continued walking. Simon Kindleysides became the first paralyzed man to complete the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon on foot. Kindleysides, who is paralyzed

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