For Justin Gallego, there is no such thing as a disability

By Klyde Manansala | Lead photo from Instagram

Nike commemorated World Cerebral Palsy Day in the most promising way after they inked a contract with runner Justin Gallegos, the very first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign with the sportswear giant.

Gallegos, a runner from University of Oregon, was locked in on breaking his own 2:03:49 half marathon record on Saturday when Nike’s insights director John Douglass showed up and brought him a bigger milestone for the runner with neurological condition—a three-year professional contract.

Gallegos made the announcement in an emotional video posted on his Instagram account where he was crying his heart out while his co-runners applauded him.

“I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process!” Gallego said on his post. “Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars.”

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, motor skills, and muscle tone. This makes activities like walking and running tremendously difficult. But disability wouldn’t and would never stop Gallego from reaching his dreams—he has been running now for seven years despite the hardships that come with it.

According to Running Magazine, he had undergone all sorts of physical therapy to improve his overall gait during his formative years. He then began running in high school, the period when he started drawing the attention of Nike.

“I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process!

Since then, he has been helping the brand develop running shoes for persons with disabilities. Gallego finished his very first half marathon sporting the Nike Pegasus 35 PlyEase—a shoe that is specially designed to assist runners with disabilities.

“Beyond blessed to officially represent the swoosh! Still can’t believe I made Nike history! Very excited! Big things are yet to come!” Gallego said.