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Four inspirational athletes surprise me in October.

Steve Russell - Staff Photographer - @RussellPhotos

In August I was in London at the Olympics surrounded by great athletes with great inspirational stories.

Paula Finlay with low iron levels gutting out a last place finish in the triathlon, Rosie MacLennan emerging as an Olympic Champion, Brent Hayden finally cracking the podium, Alexander Despatie competing after scalping himself months earlier in a training accident and the women's Soccer team winning bronze.

When August ended I thought that the athlete stories would too, or a least slow down.

October taught me different.

October presented to me another group of athletes with stories that were more inspiring than those the Olympics presented.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The race also featured a half-marathon and a 5K, it is in the 5K that two athletes emerged.

It took seven year-old Owen Derby two hours and 17 minutes to cover the 5K route to City Hall from the Exhibition grounds. He battled the weather and pulled his walker over then entire distance turning down offers from his mother and father to take a break and sit in a stroller with his younger brother.

Seven year-old Owen Derby, who has cerebal palsy, crosses the finish line.

Owen finished 4884th out of 4886 runners in the 5K, but, his smile proves that he knows he won.

Ninety-four years Owen's senior, Fauja Singh decided to step down his game this year. The 101 year-old usually runs in the marathon, but decided to run the 5K this year with 200 family and friends accompanying him.

Fauja Singh, 101, runs up to the finish line at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 5K.

101 year-old Fauja Singh had fans cheer him on in the 5K race.

Fauja Singh was all smiles after finishing the 5K in one hour and five minutes.

2012 Ping CCAA National Golf Championships

When he was three his grandparents gave him his first golf club, he would become the best player on his college team. These are a couple things he has in common with his favourite player Tiger Woods. The differences between him and and golf hero? He is a lefty and he has only one arm.

Jesse Florkowski waits to tee off on the 18th hole. Jesse, who was born with one arm, competed in the Canadian College Athletic Association's national championship for Medicine Hat College at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club.

Jesse Florkowski takes a divot.

Jesse Florkowski reacts after narrowly missing a putt.

Jesse Florkowski records his score.

Jesse Florkowski tries to give the ball a little english on a long putt. 

Jesse Florkowski hits from the fairway in the rain.

Peewee AAA Hockey

Ethan Lavallee is 12 years-old and loves hanging out with his friends. Ethan is also 190 pounds and is six foot five.

Being a tall guy myself, I have to admire the level of skill and co-ordination that Ethan has, at 12 I was knocking everything over in the house.

Even though his head is in the clouds Ethan is a grounded kid.

Six foot five Ethan Levallee plays for the Nickel City Sons who play Peewee AAA hockey just outside of Sudbury. 

Ethan Lavallee towers above his opponents.

Ethan Lavallee play out of the town of Levack, launching board of NHLer Dave Taylor.

Ethan Levallee moved up from defense to centre this year.

Because of his size, referees keep a close eye on Ethan Lavallee. This is the first year that checking is allowed.

He wears size 14 shoes and size 12 skates.

Ethan Lavallee takes a hit on the end boards, Lavallee has to be careful when checking other players because of his weight and height.

Ethan Lavallee and a teammate celebrate a goal. Lavallee's favourite player is another 6'5" centre. Eric Lindros.




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