Local News

Army captain blinded by battle finds strength in running

Posted March 20, 2011 10:44 p.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2011 11:11 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of runners across the Triangle will be resting their aching legs Monday, after going the distance in the second annual Tobacco Road Marathon on Sunday, a race through Cary and western Wake County that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

For Army Capt. Ivan Castro, aching legs are a reminder that he's alive. Since 2006, he's struggled to run again after suffering severe injuries in a mortar attack in Iraq that killed two of his comrades.

"Every step that I take, it feels like I am alive," Castro said. "It took baby steps. I had to learn how to walk. It took three people to stand me up for the first time for only two seconds. I was so weak."

The attack didn't just take his mobility, Castro lost his eyesight as well. 

"You know we all have a cross to carry. The Lord decided that this was my cross. He wouldn't give me this cross (if) he didn't think I could carry it," Castro said. 

His running partner, Lt. Col. Fred Dummar, helps him navigate the course with a string tied around their wrists.

"If he shows up and you don't, he can't train," Dummar said.

The pair has run seven marathons together, including the Marine Corps and Boston Marathon. The Tobacco Road Marathon was Castro's 15th.

When Castro isn't running, he's working for the Army, reaching out to soldiers who've been wounded in battle.

"If I'm able to inspire one person, if I am able to turn one life around, I think I did my job for the day," he said. 

The Wounded Warrior Project aims to help raise awareness for the needs of injured service members and also offers programs and services to aid them.