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Lafayette half marathon participant beating the odds

Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 17:51:51-04

LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette General Zydeco Marathon was held Sunday, attracting hundreds to the city.

There was also a half marathon, 5K, one-miler and relay race.

Among the 700 people who participated in the half marathon was 12-year-old Emma Fontenot.

After 13.1 miles, Emma crossed the finish line in about two hours.

"Since I can't really do a lot, it made me feel like I was able to do something," explained Emma.

The Basile native was born with spina bifida, but she's not letting it stop her from achieving her dreams.

Now, with fourteen races under her belt, Emma's mother says she's beating the odds.

"When she was born, they said she'd never walk, and so it's a big accomplishment that she is walking," said Katie Fontenot. "She wants to do as much as other kids can do. She doesn't like to be held back. She doesn't like to be told she can't do something, and here we are."

Emma's love for the competition started about three years ago when she joined Ainsley's Angels, a nonprofit organization that makes it their mission to ensure everyone experiences endurance events while raising awareness and providing education about their clients.

"Now, she has something that's for her and not for everybody else," said Katie. "It's indescribable. You can't describe it. As a parent, it's the best feeling in the world."

Like most, Emma has a favorite part about the race.

"Whenever we get to the end, he lets me get out of my chair, and I'll be able to walk across the finish line."

There is now an Ainsley's Angels Lafayette location. For more information about the organization, click here and here.