Finishing a marathon is always a major accomplishment. Finishing a marathon while blind? That's even more inspirational.
How about finishing a marathon as a blind 11-year-old? Incredibly, that happened on Sunday, with a young blind Japanese girl completing a 26.2 mile race in Hawaii in some of the more inspiring circumstances imaginable.
As first reported by Hawaii News Now, Wakana Ueda was technically the last finisher of the 2011 Honolulu Marathon, but she was also almost certainly the most touching as well. The Toyota City, Japan-native finally crossed the marathon finish line 14 hours and three minutes after the race started, yet was still met by a rapt group of supporters who had urged her on throughout the course.
"Before the halfway mark, her leg was cramping up, and she was thinking about quitting many times," Ueda's mother told Hawaii News Now. "But because the team supported her, she was able to finish."
As soon as she crossed the finish line, Ueda broke into tears, stunned at what she had just accomplished. Given her age and impairment, she wasn't the only one who was touched by her achievement either, with her mother quick to join in on the emotional celebration.
No matter how far she was from the race's winners, there's little question that Ueda's personal accomplishment resonated with more race fans, even though few of them were there to see her at the final finish.