ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Endurance athletes in the Medals4Mettle Program gave their medals to young people, who were fighting for their lives at a local hospital.
A marathon can test your mettle, and so can a life-threatening disease or birth defect.
That is why several runners and triathletes gave their medals away at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center Tuesday morning.
"The kids will hang onto those medals,' said Scott Dahl, national coordinator for Medals4Mettle. 'They will hang them by their bed, take them home, something that they look forward to, and really hold onto as they're going through their challenges."
The program awards kids for literally running the race of their lives. Twelve-year-old Malachi Richardson is recovering from cleft-pallet surgery.
"He's been a little unhappy with a couple of things in the surgery and some of the long-term effects,' said his father, Shane. 'So, we were excited he could get some encouragement from the runners."
Brian Haskins became a triathlete, partly because of his daughter.
"She started swimming. I never did,' he explained. 'But, she ended up going all the way to the Olympics."
Haskins gave his medal to Malachi, who happened to be a sprinter.
"Well, track season starts in about six weeks,' said Malachi`s mom, Christine. 'So, we hope that he will be back on the track training for the season."
"You've got to train harder too,' Dahl laughed with Malachi. 'We just jog along.'
Winners of these medals believed that the kids may have some pointers for endurance athletes, even if they're sidelined for the time being.
'Life is a lesson of endurance,' Haskins pointed out. 'And, they're learning what some of us don't learn until we're much older. And, they're having to learn it at a very young age."
This all started with one doctor giving his medal to a friend, who was fighting cancer. The St. Louis Triathlon Club joined forces with Medals4Mettle for today's presentation.