I watched the Dallas Marathon yesterday — from my exercise bicycle. I unfortunately had to sit out the race due to a foot injury. I have a new appreciation for what my injured clients go through.
I especially followed the progress of Jonathan Swiatocha, who works at Lukes Locker, my running store. I saw his fast father Ed, the two time winner of the Dallas Marathon and winner of the Cowtown Marathon, on Saturday and wished his son good luck in his bid to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials.
Jonathan finished despite feeling ill halfway through the 26.2 mile race. He was in second place before that and still finished with an excellent time. He said that “no matter what the result was, I wanted to finish what I started.”
Jonathan’s Horrific Crash
This young man knows how to complete unimaginable feats. In 2002, when he was 10 years old, his family’s car was crashed into by Matthew Ayers in Richardson. Another vehicle was also hit and its driver and her unborn child tragically died.
Jonathan suffered life-altering injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. He could not communicate other than by blinking and was not able to move.
But Jonathan didn’t let his catastrophic injuries hold him back. Incredibly, he slowly began to walk and then later started running with his father (who else?) as his coach.
Jonathan now volunteers as a speaker at MADD events and high school drug and alcohol awareness classes. He is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of teens and other victims of drunk driving.
One of Three Drunk Drivers Will Drive Drunk Again
One-third of drunk drivers are repeat offenders, according to MADD. This means that of the people convicted of DWI, one in three have been convicted in the past. The number of drivers who repeatedly drive drunk and have not yet been caught is much higher.
Matthew Ayers, the man who crashed into Jonathan’s family and the other woman, was on probation when he drove drunk again. In December 2012, he climbed behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of .14 percent – almost two times the legal limit. Ayers was arrested and sentenced to the maximum of 20 years in prison.
We have got to find a way to keep catastrophes like this one from happening. But congratulations, Jonathan — you are a true champion!