RICHMOND, Va. -- Kim Michaux always goes the extra mile for her son Woody.
Lifting her 32-year-old son into the family’s vehicle is a routine she executes often.
Their destination of Swift Creek Reservoir is a familiar place.
“This is my favorite place because you run along the water," Kim Michaux said. “It is always a pretty run, isn’t it Woody?”
Kim and Woody are prepping for not one but two marathons this Fall.
“We’re training for the Marine Corps Marathon and Richmond Marathon. Our goal is to run two marathons in two weeks,” Kim said.
Woody’s journey though has been fraught with potholes.
“He was a normal kid,” Kim said. “He was extremely shy. But a nice kid.”
Eleven years ago, just before his 21st birthday, the one-time lacrosse player who attended Hampden-Sydney College was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Wilson’s Disease.
The condition left Woody unable to control his muscles, swallow or speak. His mind remains sharp.
“He was a physics and chemistry major. He was a huge gamer. Halo was his game of choice,” Kim said.
Wilson’s affects one in about 40,000 people. It can be fatal if it is not diagnosed. There is no known cure.
“He is all there and he is very happy. Emotionally whatever he is feeling he is full-on,” Kim said.
Woody’s debilitating condition is not preventing him and his mom from enjoying the great outdoors together.
Their bond grows stronger with every stride.
“We’re definitely closer now for sure because I take him away by myself on a weekend, He is stuck with me now,” Kim said with a laugh.
Marathon training is their escape and some of the best medicine.
“He loves it because he is in the event. People are cheering for him. They’re fist-bumping him. He is part of it. And not watching other people do stuff,” Kim said.
While running is typically a solitary endeavor, Kim can’t envision competing without her partner.
“He loves different people pushing him. He likes the banter. It is a positive, happy group of people so he absolutely loves it,” Kim said.
So far Woody has appeared in 41 half marathons. Most with mom at his back. The pair has been competing for four years. Their goal run half marathons in all 50 states.
“Honestly I’ll never quit, you know what I mean? He is a lot of work. You do what you have to do, that is it,” Kim said.
Kim is determined to run her son to the finish line, no matter the race.
“I’m in way better shape now than when I was 40," she said. "It is because I’m pushing him. I’m not going to stop because he loves it. How do you not do this for him?”
Kim and Woody are a dynamic duo in lockstep and roll.
“Running has been an amazing thing for us to add because it is a good positive happy thing where you hang out with awesome. The running community has been very welcome of Woody,” Kim said.
Woody and Kim’s goal of running half marathons in all 50 states is off to a glowing start. The mother and son duo has completed 24 races in under four years.
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This story was originally published by WTVR in Richmond, Virginia.