Truckee teen with cerebral palsy awarded at St. George Marathon
Michaela Welch of Truckee was awarded the Clark Morris Memorial Special Achievement Award after completing the St. George Marathon in Utah.
Competing in a field of more than 7,800 runners, the 2015 Truckee High grad ran alongside her father Mike for 25.7 miles before finding another gear and out-sprinting him over the final half-mile to the finish. She posted a time of 4:39:34, while her father followed closely behind in 4:41:24.
The Clark Morris Memorial Special Achievement Award celebrates St. George Marathon finishers who have achieved personal greatness in their life or have overcome adversity in their training and personal lives to run the marathon. Welch, 19, has cerebral palsy.
Clark Morris’ son, David, presented Welch with the honor: “The Morris family has unanimously chosen Michaela Welch to receive the Clark Morris Special Achievement Award for 2015. It is with great honor that we present this award to such a deserving and special person,” he said. “The family established the Memorial Achievement Award to not only honor and remember him (Clark Morris), but to highlight the true heroes in our world such as Michaela.”
The memorial award was named in honor of Clark Morris, a father of seven who volunteered for many years at the St. George Marathon. The special needs runners always touched Morris, as he knew some of the difficulties they face in running after he suffered a stroke in his late 50s.
He decided to start running to improve his health and ran his first marathon at the age of 62. He finished the St. George Marathon four times before he was tragically killed at the age of 68. After Morris passed away, his children ran the St. George Marathon to honor him.
Many local community members helped Welch reach her dream of completing the marathon — Truckee High track and cross-country coaches Diana Yale and Rob McClendon, marathon coach and Boston Marathon finisher Mike Barna, Truckee teacher Jennifer Smith, TTUSD transition program teacher Lisa Furr, and her father Mike.
It takes a village to run a marathon.
— Sun Sports Editor Sylas Wright contributed to this story.