A drunk driver hit and seriously injured Francine Prescott in 1995 and despite the numerous surgeries and still having no feeling in her right leg, the suburban Boynton Beach resident has proved she’s unstoppable.
The 67-year-old will participate in the Fitbit Miami Marathon and Half Marathon with the Achilles South Florida group on Sunday. She’s already finished 18 full marathons while walking with a crutch and wearing a leg brace.
She’ll do the half marathon on Sunday, according to a news release.
“Miami is a challenge because of the bridges. It’s like a conquering event for me. It’s my way of saying ‘I’m not dead yet.,’” Prescott, who has lived here for about nine years, said in a statement.
The Achilles group is a nonprofit that provides disabled athletes support. It brings an opportunity to people with disabilities to participate in mainstream sports, with a focus on marathons, according to its Facebook page.
Prescott lived in Minnesota at the time of the accident. She had back surgery to remove four discs and operations to repair both shoulders. She developed chronic regional pain syndrome. Because she wasn’t able to move around much, she gained weight and fell out of shape.
With her daughter’s encouragement, Prescott decided it was time to change. She exercised with a trainer and changed her diet. She lost 160 pounds.
Prescott started with a 5K and continued with each level until she hit her first marathon — Grandmas Marathon in Minnesota in 1999.
Next up was the New York Marathon in 2001, with the help of a local Achilles chapter.
Then life challenged her again.
She became a widow in 2002. And, she had to have more surgeries that left her unable to work until 2007.
But she persevered.
She made it to the Boston Marathon, qualifying under disabled participants. She came in last, but that didn’t mean anything because just finishing was good enough. Reporters interviewed her about her accomplishment in an article titled, “Last, but far from least.”
“When I finish, I look forward to the next marathon. You just keep on going,” Prescott said.