Evansville Half Marathon has one man achieving his dream

Published: Oct. 9, 2011 at 7:54 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2011 at 7:47 PM CDT
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On Sunday, over 2,000 people took part in Evansville's 80th annual Half Marathon. Runners took a 13-mile journey around town, including one Evansville man who saw the marathon as a special journey of his own.

Erik Williams, 34, received a heart transplant less than a year and a half ago, and now he's back on his feet achieving big goals.

When Williams announced he'd be running this year's half marathon, everyone had the same reaction.

Sister Kelly Kull says, "It's just awesome."

Dr. Gradus-Pizlo says, "I said go for it, I was so happy."

Williams was born with a congenital heart defect, and went through open-heart surgery and other procedures as a child.

Dr. Gradus-Pizlo says, "He developed congestive heart failure because his right ventricle, which never was designed to work for the whole body, just dilated and failed to pump correctly."

This meant Williams had to have a heart transplant in May 2010.

Williams says, "After all that, I just wanted to see what I could do physically, with lifting weights and running, so I thought I'd get a half marathon under my belt."

Before the transplant, doctors put Williams on a low-sodium diet, and just this year, he published a cook-book to help others.

For the race, Williams wore a monitor to check his heart rate, but doctors and family weren't concerned about him running, because they say they knew Williams could do it, and he did. He finished the race with a smile on his face.

Proceeds from the race benefit the YMCA.

Copyright 2011 WFIE. All rights reserved.