History-making team lauded

Published 10:20 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

Six hours of heavy rain, 38-degree wind chill and 50-mile-per-hour gusts couldn’t stop a dynamic team from Hampton Roads in Boston.

Michael Davis, 33, of Suffolk, and Ashton McCormick, 19, of Chesapeake, made history at the Boston Marathon earlier this month, becoming the first team of a legally blind runner pushing a disabled athlete in one of the most prestigious marathons in the world.

The Boston Marathon is a bucket-list item for every serious runner there is, and the experience is often described as life-changing for avid marathoners. But for Davis and Ashton, they were there to make an impression on Boston just as much as it made on them.

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With the help of guide runner Joe Orth, Davis pushed McCormick, who has autism, along the 26.2-mile course. Keeping a smart and steady pace, the team maneuvered the corners, avoided other runners, slid around rain ponchos other runners had scattered on the ground and made history as they crossed the finish line.

“Team Pretzel Hands,” so named for McCormick’s love of Rold Gold Tiny Twists pretzels — which he munches on to keep his energy up during races — has been together since 2012 when they met through Team Hoyt, which pairs runners with riders who have special needs.

Davis has run Boston three times himself, but he says he prefers to experience the race pushing a disabled rider.

“I kind of prefer it, actually, because I can help someone be included,” he told News-Herald reporter Alex Perry this week.

We think that’s a great way to be.

Big congratulations are in order for McCormick, Davis and, not to be forgotten, Orth as well. This incredible team made history in Boston, and we couldn’t be more proud.