Paralyzed Richmond woman ready for the challenge, prepares for Richmond half-marathon

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A long-distance runners’ greatest advice will guide Crystal Jordan to the finish line of the Richmond half-marathon on Saturday. 

“It’s not about your speed. It’s your consistency,” she told 8News. “I’m feeling hyped, pumped.”

Almost exactly eight years ago, Jordan said abdominal pain led to doctors finding a massive aneurism.

“Before they could go in to fix it, it ruptured and caused massive blood loss,” she told 8News. In a matter of life-changing hours, she was paralyzed from the waist down. 

However, Jordan’s disability is not slowing her down. In fact, it’s doing the opposite. “I’ve actually done more stuff now than I did before,” she said. “I’ve done cycling and swimming and archery.”

Jordan said she wasn’t a runner before the paralysis but now this will be her second half-marathon. The medal, which will arrive in early 2022 because of shipping delays, will add to the many race medals hanging at her home.

“A lot of people see someone in a wheelchair and think… ‘they can’t do what we do’ but [it’s the] total opposite,” she said. 

There’s no doubt that she’s expecting challenges.

“Hills. The hills going up Arthur Ashe and the hills going through Bryan park,” she said. “Long day, lot of pushing.”

After recently dropping 100 lbs, Jordan said she’s healthier than ever.

“You don’t have to be in the best shape,” she said. “Just get up and go!”

Other runners are also resting up and preparing before they pack the streets for Richmond’s series of races on Saturday. The marathon, half-marathon and 8k are back in-person this year after a virtual marathon in 2020. 

Organizers are expecting up to 15,000 people to participate Saturday. The start for the marathon will be at 5th and Grace street in downtown Richmond. The other two races will start nearby. All three races will finish at Brown’s Island.

Ahead of the race on Friday, Richmond Marathon athletes took their pre-marathon selfies, and got their race swag and packets at the Richmond Raceway.

“I’m feeling good, a little nervous, but feeling good,” said one runner.

Another athlete told 8News, “I’m a little out of shape after the pandemic but the goal is to finish.”  

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