Local firefighter pushes paralyzed dad for entire 26-mile marathon

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida firefighter who took part in this year’s Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon didn’t do it alone. With his brother by his side, he pushed his father in his wheelchair the entire 26.2 miles.

7News cameras captured Fort Lauderdale firefighter and runner William Torres pushing his father, Antonio Torres, across the finish line, Sunday, as they were greeted by cheering crowds.

William’s family has always been close and worked as a team, but for the marathon, they were officially “Team Torres.” A father got the opportunity to share a special bond with his sons as the three of them marked a milestone.

William Torres
William Torres

“It is a little surreal that we actually got here today,” said William. “We completed the 26.2 miles. Not at one point did he say he wanted to quit.”

When he ran the Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon last year, William said his father was so proud of him that he wanted to keep the medal.

But William said, not so fast. “I said, ‘If you want the medal, you have to earn the medal.’ And he said, If you push me, I will,'” he said.

In 2015, Antonio was left paralyzed after being struck by a drunk driver at a red light. Since he can’t run, William pushed his father in his wheelchair for the entirety of the marathon: 26.2 miles.

“I thought he was joking, but when he started working on it, I said, ‘This guy is serious,'” said Antonio.

Antonio Torres
Antonio Torres

William said it was not an easy trek to complete. “There were a couple times where we had it rough. We got stuck by the train. We had to make up some mileage,” he said. “This is one of the hottest ones that we’ve had, the Fort Lauderdale A1A [Marathon].”

But the Torres’ support system is strong enough to overcome any obstacles. “Emotional that we did it. Thanks to my father for allowing me to do this,” said William.

The race symbolizes a lot for the Torres family. Antonio’s other son, Carlos Ortiz, flew down from Indiana to participate as well, and he’s not even a runner.

“I was surprised, too, because I never see him running or doing exercise,” said Antonio.

For Ortiz, however, family comes first. “He’s my brother. I’m going to stand with him. I’m going to roll with him,” he told 7News on Saturday.

Carlos Ortiz
Carlos Ortiz

Once Ortiz was actually out in the field, however, it was family that kept him going. “If it hadn’t been for [Dad], I would’ve said, ‘OK, that’s enough,'” he said.

The bond this family shares is one Antonio created himself. The brothers said he’s always been a loving and supporting father, and this is the least they could do to help him get the medal.

“It’s all mind over matter. If he doesn’t mind, it doesn’t matter, right?” said Ortiz.

As Team Torres celebrates a victory at the finish line, they’re already considering another race down the road. “If [Dad] says, ‘Let’s do it next year,’ I’ll tow the line with him again next year,” said William. “I’ll recruit a crew and we’ll do it again.”

William said he can normally run a marathon in about four hours. Pushing his father, and with his brother by his side, it still only took six hours.

For more information about the Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K, click here.

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