Runner Shares His Journey with Disabled Children

Peter Kline finished the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon to round out a 100-mile weekend.

The road racing medals had been draped around Peter Kline’s neck. His dresser was stuffed with running t-shirts. He even beat the clock, dropping his marathon PR from a 5:03 debut to 3:42 in a span of two years, the latter fast enough to qualify for Boston.

But at 60, something was missing.

“Before, running was all about me,” says Kline, now 64. “Running to see how fast I was. I thought, ‘There has to be a higher purpose.’”

A financial advisor for Merrill Lynch who lives in Bellevue, Wash., Kline has run dozens of marathons, many of them pushing children with disabilities. Over the weekend at the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon, Kline ran 100 miles in just under 24 hours, all while pushing disabled children in a running stroller.

Kline began his quest at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on the University of Washington track. There, he ran circles around the track, pushing youth for 73.8 miles, then over to the start line of the marathon where he completed the final 26.2 miles of his 100-mile quest.

Describing the marathon experiences with children, Kline says, “It changed the whole way I experience marathons. Before, it was all about me. All of a sudden, the clock doesn’t matter. I run in the back of the pack with somebody who would never enjoy the marathon experience.”

“You’re needed by that child. You’re needed by their parents. The parents are turning over their son or daughter to me, a guy who sometimes they’ve never met until the day of the race. In some cases, these kids are deathly ill. The faith they have in me, letting go of their son or daughter so they can race with me, that’s incredible.”

“Back-of-the-pack runners latch onto me. They’ll say, ‘If you can make it to the end, I can make it.’”

From Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning, Kline pushed 13 children during his 24-hour journey. All 13 children finished the marathon or half marathon, thanks to their families and volunteers supporting ‘Marathons with Meaning.’

“If you have the ability to change a kid’s life and their family’s life, that’s incredible,” Kline says. “Why wouldn’t you do it?”

For more information about ‘Marathons with Meaning,’ visit marathonswithmeaning.com.

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