More than 45,000 runners took to the streets of Chicago for the 42nd annual Chicago Marathon last weekend, and among their ranks was a 16-year old Middletown High junior with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a debilitating genetic disorder that seriously impacts organs including the lungs.
Delawarean Michael Davis didn’t just compete and finish the race – he set the record as the youngest person with CF to complete the prestigious marathon.
In doing so, Davis raised awareness for CF and more than $50,000 to combat the disease.
Davis was joined in Chicago by his mom, Jen Caruso, stepfather Brian Chipoletti, his dad Steve Davis, his grandparents and uncle. Michael was accompanied by his training and running mentor Jay Asparro of New York, who was alongside the young marathoner every step of the race.
This is Davis’ first full marathon and he devoted five months of training leading up to the race, which he finished in just a little over five hours.
The 16-year-old Middletown High School lacrosse player well be the youngest person with the condition to ever compete a marathon.
His parents found out through the newborn screening when Michael was three weeks old that he carried the genetic disease and would have to manage it the rest of his life.
Davis, who actually was ill two weeks before the race, said he hoped to inspire others overcoming challenges in their lives. “With hard work, dedication and persistence anything is possible,” he said, noting that he specifically wanted to encourage people with CF to be active. “I could not have done this without the support of my family, friends, the Boomer Esiason Foundation and the entire CF community, I did this for them.”
The funds raised by Davis will go to the Boomer Esiason Foundation, to support their many programs for Cystic Fibrosis including researching a cure, transplant grants and college scholarships.
Caruso posted photos from the event on social media including one from Chicago Bears Head Coach and former UD Blue Hen quarterback Matt Nagy, cheering Michael on.
Davis said he is enjoying the moment, reflecting on the accomplishment and thinking about what comes next – and another marathon isn’t out of the question.
“Who knows maybe at age 18 I will be the first at that age with CF to run the New York Marathon or complete an Iron Man. I also plan to attend college in the future to further both my academic and athletic abilities,” said Michael.