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Chicago Marathon latest feat for last finisher

Published: Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 10:01 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO (MCT) — A Venezuelan man who doctors once said would never walk added a third marathon to his running resume early this morning, finishing in Grant Park to a tearful welcoming party, a spokesman said.

Sixteen hours and forty six minutes after starting the race, 38-year-old Maickel Melamed — who has lived his entire life with a rare condition limiting his muscular strength — crossed the finish about 1:30 a.m.

One of his first actions was bringing the race medal to his father, one of the dozens of people gathered in celebration, said Billy Russo, who coordinates publicity for Melamed.

"He was obviously tired, but he felt like he reached the goal," Russo said. "His dream for today was to run the marathon and finish, and he did."

In public comments after finishing, Melamed urged others to follow their own dreams, Russo said. An economist by training, Melamed shifted careers to one as a motivational speaker and workshop facilitator who works with organizations in several countries, according to biographical information provided by Russo.

Melad has now run the New York, Berlin and Chicago marathons, and he hopes to tackle the remaining two World Marathon Majors — first Tokyo and then Boston, Russo said.

(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services

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