It might not be the biggest or flashiest award that 19-year-old Lukas Verzbicas has won, but it might be the most important.
The Orland Park native was one of the best runners in the nation and world before he suffered a near-death accident that left his body a wreck in July. On Thursday, he came home to run in the Orland Park Turkey Trot and finished third overall out of 750 entrants and second in his 15-to-19 age group with a time of 13 minutes, 32.6 seconds. It was his first competition since the accident.
Before July, not winning a race would be tough for Verzbicas to handle. He was full of joy on Thanksgiving just to be able to compete and win that turkey trophy.
“The fact that I’m able to even be here means so much more to me,” he said. “I’ve never appreciated something like life. I always thought about the small things — the racing and the training and all of that. That was all that mattered to me. Now I see the wide spectrum and the big picture.
“For me this is the most thankful Thanksgiving I’ve had.”
Read more: Southtownstar.suntimes.com
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