Young Georgetown runner focused on 2024 Paralympics
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) -As the world prepares to cheer on some of the greatest athletes in the upcoming Olympics, future hopefuls right here in central Kentucky are striving to reach their own goals of greatness one day.
For the last six years, WKYT’s Amber Philpott has been following the story of Katie Eddington, a Georgetown girl badly injured in a lawnmower accident.
Now, at 12-years-old Eddington is focused on her own gold medal, but in a different set of games after that devastating accident put her on a new track in life.
When we first introduced you to then 6-year-old Eddington in 2015, she was a spunky little girl who had lived through a terrible accident.
Her mangled leg held the visible scars of accidentally being run over by the family’s lawnmower at her Georgetown home.
We were there when she decided her leg needed to be amputated and we watched as she set her mind to mastering riding a bike, swimming and then running a 5K.
“I watched her run down Main Street in Georgetown in the Finley 5K and it brought tears to my eyes, it really did,” said Matthew Nunn.
Over the years Katie’s journey has touched a lot of people, and along the way, there has always been someone to cheer her on.
“I’ve known Katie and her family for several years. I’ve known her story as she has progressed. I’ve kept up with it and it’s and an inspiring story,” said Nunn.
Katie turned to running not long after her amputation and she has never slowed down.
At 12-years-old she is focused on track and field and training now with a new sense of purpose.
“Before I was just kind of doing it for fun and I still do it for fun, but it’s more of a challenge I would say,” said Katie Eddington.
Katie trains weekly and has spent the summer competing and working towards the adaptive sports Junior National competition in Colorado.
Between the coaching, the travel, and the competitions it can be expensive.
And that’s where people like Matthew Nunn and the company he works for Toyota Tsusho American are stepping in.
“We are basically sponsoring her travel costs and her training and the things that are involved so she can compete at the highest levels,” said Nunn.
Earlier this summer Katie competed in the Endeavor Games, another high-level meet for athletes with physical disabilities.
On the track, she says she has come to feel at home with those that share her similar scars.
If you ask her coach, the hard work is paying off.
“Blowing the competition away I mean just to be honest,” said Jackie Duvall.
Jackie Duvall and Katie have been training together since last year.
Duvall says she never saw Katie as anything other than an athlete.
“The type of fight I see in Katie is something you just don’t see all the time,” said Duvall.
Duvall an accomplished former college athlete on the track herself, knows a thing or two about toughness.
She says she sees nothing, but toughness every time Katie steps on the track with her.
“To see the type of athlete she is and to fight through things that a lot of other athletes do not have to fight through just to get up and say hey I am going to go run today, I am going to go out there and sprint today, I’m going to go train today. Whatever it is, that is what she is teaching me,” said Duvall.
It may sound like a lot to be a sponsored athlete at just 12.
“Once you step onto the track it all goes away, like obviously stress it stays, but it goes away when you are running,” said Katie.
Already this summer she has brought home several medals, but it is not the hardware rather the friendships among those who have lost limbs that really keep her going.
“I think about it, of the way that if I hadn’t gotten my leg amputated, I wouldn’t have met all the people I’ve met and I wouldn’t have met all the people like me,” said Eddington.
She is a young gal who has never let anything stop her.
Katie Eddington continues to put one foot and now one running blade in front of the other, not looking back, but focused on the finish line.
Eddington is in Colorado this week for the Junior National competition.
She competes in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races.
While she is focused on the race at hand this week, her ultimate goal is qualifying for the Paralympics in 2024.
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