Marko Cheseto made a name for himself at UAA with his stellar performances as a track athlete. And, after losing both of his feet to a case of severe frostbite in late 2011, the former All-American runner is back on the track.
So how many interviews have you been doing since the incident, because I remember seeing it on ESPN last summer, and I’m sure that more interviews have come since then?
Man I can’t even remember; I need to keep a diary! (Laughs)
What have you been doing since the incident?
A lot of physical therapy, trying to get back to walking right and now running.
How do you feel right now?
I feel great. It has been a long journey but finally I’m — I’m not going to say all right, but I am much better now, compared to the last year and a half.
What all did your physical therapy entail?
I’m not currently in PT anymore. But we did training on how to walk right, being able to balance. We do a lot of balancing. And being able to do the regular daily activities such as cooking, taking a shower, even putting on the prosthetics.
Is it harder to get back into shape now since you’ve been kind of forced to take a break from running & training?
It always takes some time to get back into shape. Being in shape is not easy. But I’m training really hard to get back to it. I’m not totally out of shape, but not to an extent of running and competing. Though I haven’t been doing a lot of running, I have been being active.
Do they have you running on the prosthetics yet?
Yeah before I got the ones they gave me for running, I had the walking ones.
Oh I didn’t know that there were two different kinds.
Yeah well the only difference between the running and walking ones is the balancing. It’s like driving a very big car and now you have to drive a tiny car. (Laughs) I’m getting used to it.
Did they ever tell you “you may never walk again” or anything crazy like that? Did that thought ever cross your mind, and if so, what did it feel like once you were back to being mobile?
Nobody told me I wasn’t going to run again. They weren’t very sure how soon I would. There was a lot of push and encouragement that I would run again, but nobody knew how soon that would be.
Well that’s good nobody ever told you that, you never worried that it could be your last time running a meet?
I always thought that if I would be able to walk again, I would get there, since running comes from being really good at walking. The main goal was to be able to walk again and do my normal daily duties.
What are the major differences between running with prosthetics and running without them?
When you use prosthetics you’re always using something that helps you run. It isn’t a part of you. So not only do you have to run on them, but you have to adjust to the discomfort that they bring.
Go here to watch a video of Cheseto displaying how far he’s come. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=773683415679