(Austin Prario, wearing bib number 23506, completed his second Boston Marathon on April 15, 2019).
Twenty-one years ago, Austin Prario’s parents were told when their son was born, he would face limitations.
That’s because Austin’s heart was formed with only three chambers, rather than four.
The doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital told Austin’s parents he would never be able to do certain things, like run the Boston Marathon.
Now Austin has just completed his second Boston Marathon, finishing in 5 hours 55 minutes and 7 seconds.
“I ran my first Boston Marathon for Boston’s Children Hospital when I was 19,” said Austin. “I was the youngest runner from Rhode Island in the 2017 race,” he said.
Austin raised nearly $20,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital and he hopes to raise more this time around.
The Boston Marathon is a big race for Austin’s family. His father has run five of them and hopes to finish his sixth marathon this April. His uncle has also run the marathon. When Austin was a baby, his father was running Boston and carried Austin the last several hundred yards of the race to the finish line.
There is a picture of them crossing the finish line together. And that photo has served as inspiration for Austin.
“My whole journey started with a picture of my Dad carrying me over the finish line and it’s become a reality for me,” said Austin.
For the 2019 Boston Marathon, Austin’s father, Dave, created specially made bibs and shirts for the race. They have Austin’s actual heart beat on the shirts and are emblazoned with “Gotta Have Heart”. Austin is also adding pictures of children with heart defects to his bib.
“I want little kids with heart defects to see my bib and shirt and realize they can do anything and not to let their CHD define them,” Austin said.
The 21-year-old Burrillville native has been busy training for the marathon and with college. Austin is a senior at the University of Rhode Island and is majoring in communications.
He runs sixteen miles on Saturdays and is up at 6 am every day to fit in his training regimen that includes weights, a rower and an elliptical machine.
Crossing the finish line for the Boston Marathon was a heady experience.
“When I finished my first marathon, the first thing I did after crossing the finish line was hug my Dad,” Austin said. “I told him that was for you!”
On June 2nd, Austin will share his inspiring story at the Southern New England Heart Walk in Providence. For more information about the upcoming Heart Walks in Southern New England, please visit sneheartwalk.org. You can also contact Heart Walk Directors Patrice Jean-Philippe [email protected] or Debra Honor [email protected] for more details.
“I want to be able to give back forever,” said Austin. “It’s the team that’s behind me that makes this worth it.”