Runner’s High: One Man’s New York City Marathon Dream Comes True

Romina Hendlin
Romina Hendlin
Maickel Melamed trains for the New York City Marathon in Caracas in September 2011.

More than 40 years after its inception, the New York City Marathon on Sunday beckoned another legion of runners to test themselves. For many runners, it was a test of physicality. But for Maickel Melamed, it was a mental test to overcome a struggle that resulted from a birth defect 36 years ago.

Photograph by Romina Hendlin

Melamed's nephew touches the medal Melamed received after completing the ING Miami Half Marathon in January 2011

Born with a condition called hypotonia, Melamed suffers from low muscle tone, which makes most activities that require any strength extremely difficult. For the past two years, he has been training in his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela for the 2011 New York City Marathon. He applied for the marathon last year and was at first denied, but after completing a half marathon in Miami and joining Archilles International — an organization that helps people with disabilities participate in mainstream athletics — he was later accepted.

Photographer Romina Hendlin, also from Caracas, has been following Melamed since 2009, first as a student in his motivational class in high school, then as a friend and now as a photographer. “It’s the perseverance he has to follow his dreams,” she says of her interest in documenting Melamed’s journey. “He doesn’t take no for an answer. He taught us that you can’t accept no — always ask how.”

The New York City Marathon was important for Melamed to run because it is symbolic of how he lives his life. “If you dream it, make it happen,” he says. “I’m very excited and very focused, and just to be in the start line is a huge step. There are a lot of people who want to achieve their goals but don’t get to the start line. It’s symbolic of my dream and [theirs].”

Hendlin is part of a team of nearly 30 people who helped Melamed complete the marathon. The average completion time is about four hours; it took Melamed more than 15. “My celebration will be internal,” Melamed says. “This is going to help a lot of people. I will be the vehicle to help others find their way.”

Romina Hendlin is a photographer based in New York. More of her work can be seen here

Related Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

The henna is a pre-nuptial cerimony celebrated in Moroccan or Yemenite families where the soon-to-be bride is dressed-up as a Queen with flowers and jewels and she is inivited to dance with her girl friends to say good-bye to celibacy and life as a single young girl. During the dance cerimony, the Kallah, the bride-to-be's hands and feet are painted with henne`, the red pouder from India. This welcomes fertility and happinesses within the marriage. Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel. July 2012.

Finding Faith and Beauty in the Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women

For four years, Italian photographer Federica Valabrega has photographed the everyday lives of Orthodox Jewish women around the world

Read More
A suspected migrant runs back to Miguel Aleman, Mexico after being pursued by agents near Roma, Texas. Oct. 8, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 26, 2014

Stephen Waddell

Off the Radar: Jeff Wall Puts the Spotlight on Stephen Waddell

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,376 other followers