Crossing the finish line together, for STAB's Beardsley

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Saint Anne's-Belfield cross country coach, Andy Beardsley, is getting ready for another race.

"I'm nearing 40 marathons now that I've done,” Beardsley said. “I've done Boston three times."

But, this time his preparation is a bit different.

"The muscle groups are a little different. It's quite a bit harder on my back and shoulders and upper body just because I'm pushing all of that weight,” he said.

Beardsley will have an extra 200 pounds with him when he crosses the finish line.

"It's been on my bucket list of things to do and finally I was just like I want to do this. I said, ‘why don't we just get and set up and try and do a race,’" Beardsley said.

"I didn't really want to do it,” said Larsen Klingel. “Then I thought well Andy is over 50 now if I'm going to do it I better do it now. The chair is very comfortable, you're on your back but it's like being in a lazy boy chair."

Klingel was born with Cerebral Palsy but Beardsley has been by his side for almost his entire life.

"I think we met in the fifth grade and we went all the way through high school,” Klingel said. “We're pretty close. We're like brothers."
"He was in a wheelchair for most of high school,” Beardsley said. “I would push him around school."

Back in November, the two completed their first race together, the Bill Steers four-miler.

"We won the 50 and over category and since I'm in the wheelchair I cross the line first,” Klingel said. “So, I got first and he got second which is pretty funny."

Beardsley says Larsen’s positive attitude is something that motivates him.

"He's always been a true inspiration for me,” Beardsley said. “I've been able to run and be strong and healthy and he's never complained about anything in his life."

"Everybody has problems,” Klingel said. “In anything you do in life you just have to play the hand you're dealt. There's no need to complain."

Their bond led them to complete another race.

"We just loved doing stuff together,” Beardsley said. “Once he saw that I was serious and then maybe try for Boston hey was like alright why not, he's always up for something new."

They finished the Richmond Marathon and qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon.

"Boston Marathon is in my mind the greatest road race in the world,” Beardsley said. “To do that with him it's a lifelong dream for me."
Beardsley said he has always been inspired by “Team Hoyt,” a father and son, Dick and Rick, who have competed in various marathons including the Boston Marathon. Dick is the father to Rick who has Cerebral Palsy.

“Oh I think it will be fantastic,” Klingel said. “I mean I've never obviously run the Boston Marathon but it’s world famous. Andy is the only friend that I have that even has the ability to give me that opportunity."

"Every day for him is in some ways a marathon,” Beardsley said. “To see that and grow up with that, it's given me a real different view of life. He is my hero, for real."