Arkansas Man Gives Family Lesson in Resilience at Star Wars Half

Filed in: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, runDisney, Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side

(April 23, 2017): Wheelchair competitor Kurt Blankenship (Little Rock, Ark.) remarkably won the men’s push rim wheelchair division of the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort on April 23, 2017, with a time of 1:27:46. But it was more of an education for his wife and children than anything else. That’s because Blankenship’s three children – Ella, Olivia and Ryan – are wrestling with their own challenges as a result of all being born premature, and Blankenship took on the weighty challenge of a half marathon to teach them the true measure of resilience. Blankenship was paralyzed from the waist down in 1999 after a near-fatal car accident. For years, he struggled to adjust to his new reality. Things changed when he and his wife, Carrie, started a family. Blankenship views his children’s medical challenges as motivation to be an inspirational example of persistence and fortitude.