When John Young, of Salem, lines up for the start of the New York City Marathon Sunday morning, he'll be running for a lot more than just a new personal best.
Young, who teaches math at Pingree School in South Hamilton, is hoping to become the first little person to complete the grueling 26.2-mile race.
Young hasn't let the fact that he was born with a congenital condition called achondroplasia keep him from being far more active than your average Witch City resident.
And in spite of the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week, Young will travel to New York City with his wife, Sue, and 10-year-old son, Owen, Friday in advance of Sunday's race.
Though his small stature and slow pace may make it a little harder for him to find a running partner to train with, but that hasn't kept Young off of the local racing circuit. He began competing in triathlons three years ago and recently wrapped up his fourth racing season.
As he was packing for the trip to New York Thursday night, Young said his 10-month mission to complete the marathon wasn't about being the first little person to cross the finish line - it was about sending a message to everyone out there who has been told they couldn't do something.
"I think all of us little people, we hear a lot of 'you can't do that' or 'you're too small,'" Young said. "Part of me will feel good about being the first little person to do it, but what will be even more satisfying is to have me not be the last one to do it."
Anyone interested in tracking Young's progress Sunday can do so on www.nyrr.org. His bib number will be 18955.