What Challenges Have You Set for Yourself?

Yesterday morning, 47,107 people stood at the starting line of the New York City Marathon, intent on crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later. But the journey began long before marathon day: competitors train for months and years, in some cases, just to get to the starting line. Do you have personal goals you've been working for a long time to accomplish? How do you stay motivated?

In "25 Years Later, a Marathon Finish Still Inspires," Dave Ungrady writes about Bob Wieland, whose New York City Marathon finish 25 years ago is just one of his many feats that took great effort and persistence:

In Bob Wieland’s world, obstacles create opportunities and conquests breed inspiration.

Wieland was declared dead and taken away in a zipped-up body bag in 1969 after stepping on a mortar mine in Vietnam. But he awoke a half-hour later and now breathes life into battles against limitations with his speeches and ultradistance adventures that support charities. Missing his legs but full of heart, Wieland has completed six marathons on his hands. He finished the Ironman World Championship triathlon course in Hawaii in less than five days.

Twenty-five years ago, Wieland completed the New York City Marathon for the first time in about 98 hours, or just over four days, a feat he reflected on this week with typical cheerfulness.

“I finished ahead of 300 million Americans who never finished the race,” he said in a phone interview.

Later this month, Wieland, 65, plans to stop in Washington, halfway through Dream Ride 3, a solo ride across the United States and back on a handcycle. He started the journey July 3 in Los Angeles at the Dream Center, a residential rehabilitation facility that will benefit from his ride. Wieland interrupted the ride in late October in Ohio, returning to Los Angeles to receive an award and to make two speeches. He will resume Thursday.

Students: Tell us what you think about Bob Wieland's past and current accomplishments. Do his feats challenge society's attitudes about people who have physical limitations? If so, how? Are there other people whose accomplishments keep you striving to reach your own? How would you describe their attitude toward their efforts? What would you like them–or Mr. Wieland, if his story has inspired you–to know about their role in your efforts to reach the "finish lines" you have set for yourself?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.

What Challenges Have You Set for Yourself?

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