Ada’s Fireball Classic was the last race Abraham Ekal ran in before a bone in his leg was splintered into eight pieces.
It’s also the first race he’ll be running since his recovery.
Ekal moved to the United States from Kenya, Africa and wasn’t intially a runner.
“Kenya is known for runners,” he said. After being asked several times if he was a runner, he gave the sport a chance. Ekal began running summer track at his high school in El Paso, Texas. From there he went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he achieved All American, All Conference and All Regional honors.
His main event was the 800 meter run.
Ekal graduated from SMU with a double major in journalism and business accounting. From there he went to University of Texas in El Paso as a graduate assistant coach.
“My first year there we were third in the nation,” he said. “After that, Oklahoma State University hired me as an assistant coach.”
Ekal moved to Ada in June of 2009, where he became a personal trainer at Gym 210.
On the way back from an OSU/Texas football game in November of 2009, the truck Ekal was in had a tire blow out. The truck hit a guardrail, which went through the truck.
“When we hit the guardrail, the truck whiplashed and the guardrail ran straight into my leg,” he said. “It just shattered everything.”
At first, doctors weren’t sure Ekal would be able to keep his leg.
“They couldn’t close the wound for three weeks,” he said.
After his fourth surgery to set his bone, the doctors said he would recover.
At his peak, Ekal ran a mile in under four minutes. The first mile he ran after the accident, he said he ran a 12-minute mile. He said the hardest part about recovery was muscle memory.
“I’ve been cutting it down,” he said.
Now he’s down to six minutes.
“I’m probably 30 percent back to where I was,” he said. He said through patience and perseverance, his recovery is coming along well and he has no doubt he can get back to the shape he was in.
“It’s all mental,” he said. “I have no restrictions as far as my leg is concerned.”
Ekal said he likes running because it’s an individual sport and it requires self-discipline.
“It’s you against you,” he said.
He said Monday’s Fireball Classic at Ada’s Fourth of July Celebration is a chance to prove to himself that he’s recovered.
“I’m going to get my butt kicked on Monday,” he said. Next year, he hopes to be a competitor in the race.
Ekal plans to keep running while doing personal training in Ada. He has plans to start Ada running club.
“I want to get more people involved in the community,” he said.