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Running For A Reason

September 4, 2012, 6:06 PM

Running For A Reason

Hundreds of people will put on their running shoes this weekend to take part in the Sioux Falls Marathon, Half Marathon, and Miracle 5K. While many runners are competing to stay in shape, the race is much more personal for others.

Like many training for the upcoming Miracle 5K, Steve Bruggeman has been running for weeks.  But unlike most runners, the 50-year-old has a prosthetic leg.

"In one-tenth of a second my life was changed forever," Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman has pictures from the day he was accidentally shot by a fellow sailor while serving in the military. But he doesn't need them to remember April 2, 1983.

"It's hard to cope with it. I went from being perfectly healthy at 20 to this. It changed my life forever. It was a hard thing to accept. That's the hardest thing is living a life and knowing what you could do, and now you're limited," Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman hasn't always been so optimistic. For years after the accident, he used alcohol as a way to cope with his injury.

"Getting sober was a big thing; that's the easiest way I can say it. You have to have a clear mind, and sobriety helped a lot," Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman has also taken steps to get back to activities he enjoyed before he was shot.

"I loved running. I've always loved running," Bruggeman said.

With the help of his Cheetah prosthetic leg and a trainer, Bruggeman is putting one foot in front of the other toward his goal of running in the Miracle 5K this weekend.

"Most impressive is Steve's positive, "can-do" attitude. He's really proven what amputees can accomplish.  So that's been very impressive and motivating for even all the other participants to be around," Bruggeman's trainer, Sanford Wellness Center Manager Amy Pugliese, said.

Not only does Bruggeman run, he also kayaks, surfs, and skis, just to name a few activities.

"You have to learn to accept it. The acceptance is the big thing. If you don't accept it, you'll never move forward," Bruggeman said.

That's why he's not only ready to run this weekend, but he's running for a reason.

"I hope I can inspire them or anybody with a disability that, just because they have one, we can still do the same things. We just have to do it a little different," Bruggeman said.

Click here for more information on the Sioux Falls Marathon, Half Marathon, and Miracle 5K.

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