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Disabled US runner inspires thousands

12:30 Mon Jun 4 2012
Will Jackson, MSN NZ

An inspiring video of a disabled 11-year-old completing a 400m race thanks to the support of his schoolmates has become an internet sensation.

The video — set to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger — shows Matt Woodrum competing in the run at Colonial Hills Elementary school last month.

Matt has spastic cerebral palsy and it's obvious that running is a challenge for him.

After only a quarter of the way through the first of two laps, he's struggling and slows to a walk.

And that's when the magic happens.

His physical education teacher John Blaine walks over and asks: "Matt, you're not going to stop, are you?"

"No way," the boy replies.

He continues on as one, then two then scores of his classmates begin running along with him clapping and chanting: "Let's go Matt, let's go!"

Until finally, impossible to see through the thicket of friends, he crosses the finish line.

The video — filmed by Matt's mum Anne Curran and uploaded by his uncle — has been viewed by more than 700,000 people on YouTube and the story has been picked up by numerous news outlets across the States.

"It was really encouraging," he said. "It helped me get through the rest of the race."

Ms Curren said she was moved to tears by the support shown by Matt's classmates.

"When the kids came to join him, that was the real moment of inspiration that obviously made me and everybody cry," she told the Columbus Dispatch. "Seeing him through to the end and cheering his name was just a priceless moment."