Clinton man training to be the first person with spastic cerebral palsy to run the Chicago Marathon

This fall, up to 45,000 runners from 100 countries will take off in the Chicago marathon. Among them is a man from Clinton, Iowa who is trying to achieve something no one has done before.

Jeff Hobbs has spastic cerebral palsy.

“The diagnosis of spastic cerebral palsy causes the muscles to be in spasm and so they’re not as flexible, they don’t have the same stretching ability,” said Kathryn Ellsworth, clinic supervisor at Genesis Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine.

But that has not stopped Hobbs from running.

“I’ve been told my entire life what I could and couldn’t do and it took a high school track and cross country coach to give me the opportunity to show what I could do and because of that he changed my life,” said Hobbs, “I ran cross county and track in high school and college.”

Now at age 34, he’s training for something no one with his condition has ever done.

“Nobody with spastic CP, with my type of CP has ever accomplished this and ran the Chicago marathon,” he said.

He’s been training for ten months, but for the last six weeks, he’s spent his time running in an underwater treadmill and on an anti-gravity treadmill at Genesis Therapy and Sports Medicine in Davenport.

“Jeff has struggled with stress fractures in his feet and so by unloading the body, he can train, the cardiovascular training that he needs to train for a marathon or any run,” said Ellsworth.

His training has already inspired the staff working with him.

“He is here every day.  He is here with the best attitude, taking it on,” said Ellsworth.

And Hobbs hopes his running, gives someone else a reason to run.

“I’m using this as sort of a platform to help other kids, other people, other adults that are struggling, having their own obstacles that they have to overcome; maybe someone has told them they can’t do something, and maybe by seeing, they watch this story it inspires them to say ‘You know what? I can do it.'”

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