I came across this amazing woman on Bust and was intrigued by the opening paragraph.
The word ‘superwoman’ is thrown around way too often, but here’s an athlete who completely deserves the description. Amy Palmiero-Winters is a 37-year-old mother of two, coach, mentor, and became a below-the-knee amputee as the result of a motorcycle accident in 1994. Now, she’s made history.
On January 1st, Amy became the first female athlete with a prosthetic leg to win the title in a race. And it wasn’t any old race either.
Starting at 9 a.m. on December 31, 2009 and finishing at 9 a.m. on New Years’ Day, Amy beat the overall male winner in the Arizona Road Racers “Run to the Future” twenty-four-hour ultramarathon by 14 miles and bettered the second-place female finisher by over 36 miles. Based on this performance, she’s qualified for the United States able-bodied 24-hour run team that will be competing at the world championship in France in May. This is the first time an amputee runner will be running against able-bodied counterparts on a world championship team.
According to her website SeeAmyRun.com, Amy was a high school track and swimming star who lost her left leg below the knee following a 1994 motorcycle accident and more than 25 surgeries. In 2004, despite only having a walking prosthesis and being five months pregnant with her second child, Amy entered the Silver Strand Marathon and came in 2nd place in her division.
The following summer, two months after her daughter was born, Amy decided to try her hand at her first triathlon in NYC. She hadn’t been swimming competitively since high school, she still only had a walking prosthesis and she had to use a borrowed bike from her employer for the event, but she placed 3rd in her division.
With this success, Amy joined Team A Step Ahead, a team of amputee athletes from around the world who compete in events including the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, multiple marathons, road races around the world, and the Paralympic Games.
In Spring of 2006, Amy ran a marathon with a customized running prosthesis from A Step Ahead and smashed the world record time by more than 25 minutes. Since then she has broken her own world record, along with the US Men’s record, in the marathon when she ran a 3:04 in Chicago, set a world record in Olympic Distance Triathlon in NYC, and won her second triathlon world championships in Switzerland.
These days she’s a role model, not just for people with disabilities, but for anyone who strives to overcome limitations. Outside of her full time training as an elite athlete she donates time to work with children who have had limb loss due to cancer, birth defects, trauma and many other diseases. Getting started in life is hard enough; imagine starting without a leg(s) or an arm(s), she says.
Amy has proven that despite physical challenges, family, and work commitments, if you believe that you can do something, you can. Pretty Awesome.