Rick van Beek of Byron Center, Michigan, used to be an ordinary guy who wasn’t much of an athlete. However, in the past few years he quit smoking and chewing tobacco and started running. He has participated in lots of races since then, but there is one thing that ultimately distinguishes him among other runners…
Rick always runs carrying his 13-year-old daughter Maddy, who suffers from cerebral palsy. Maddy is unable to talk or walk, and one of the few things her parents know about her is that the girl enjoys being outside and feel the breeze in her hair and in her face. Rick pushes Maddy in a buggy, pulls her in a special bike when it comes to cycling and pulls her through the water in a custom-made kayak. Together the “Team Maddy” has participated in more than 70 triathlons, half-marathons and other outdoor races.
Rick says that the best reward for him is the happy smile on the face of his daughter.