Amy Palmiero-Winters holds eleven world records despite being a below-knee amputee.
She was a high school track and swimming star before losing her left leg in a 1994 motorcycle accident. It took Amy three years before she could even run again.
By 2006, Amy was running her first marathon with her finest customized prosthesis, decimating the world record by more than 25 minutes. Since that time she's broken her own world record, even the US Men's record.
She ran the Chicago Marathon in 3:04, set a world record in the Olympic Distance Triathlon in NYC and won her second triathlon world championships in Switzerland. She's also the first female amputee to finish the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile race considered to be the toughest in existence.
Still not sold? Amy is also the founder of the One Step Ahead Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children with physical disabilities.
Arguably the best U.S. long distance runner since Steve Prefontaine, Rupp was another Oregon star who made it to the Olympics, even coming home with a silver Olympic medal in the Men's 10K in 2012.
In fact, Rupp holds several American records to date. Just look at these bests:
800 – 1:50.00
1500m – 3:34.75
Mile – 3:57.72
3,000m – 7:43.24
5,000m – 12:58.90
10,000m – 26.48.00
Mile (i) – 3:50.92
3,000m (i) – 7:30.16
Aside from all the records, some consider Rupp an inspiration because of his hypothyroidism, a lethargic-like condition some endocrinologists associate with young endurance athletes.
But whether Rupp's condition is a factor or not, his decade-long stronghold on American long-distance running has given hope to a new generation of runners not seen since the early 70s.
Singh officially gives all of us lazy numbskulls zero excuses on why not to exercise.
Singh, pictured here at age 100 (now 104), ran his first marathon in 2000 (London) after deciding to take up running again at the age of 89 as a way to get through the loss of his wife, son and daughter, which he lost over a short time-span.
He enjoyed overnight fame at the age of 93 when he completed a marathon in 6 hours and 54 minutes, beating the previous 90-plus age bracket world record by more than 58 minutes.
Singh has run seven marathons, all of them after his 89th birthday.
Pictured to the left is Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, where he swiped four golds in front of an embarrassed Adolph Hitler.
Of course you probably know the story about how Owens shattered Hitler's Aryan dominance theory, but Owens also paved the way for the African-American athlete as a whole.
In 1935, while at a segregated Ohio State, not even able to eat with his white teammates, live on campus or even run on scholarship, Owens dominated the Big Ten Championships, breaking three world records and tying one, all in a span of 45 minutes.
Owens surely helped pave the way for athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown and Bill Russell, but he never got the recognition he deserved, having to struggle for income much of his life.
Today, USA Track and Field gives annually the Jesse Owens Award, which is the country's highest accolade for the sport.
Montgomery has multiple sclerosis, which causes her legs to go numb as her body temperature rises. Meaning, towards the end of every race, she's "floating," with no sensation in her legs, and eventually needs to be caught by her coach at the finish line.
Not only did she win a North Carolina high school state championship in the 5K, she's about to enter her second year as a member of the Lipscomb University cross country team in Nashville, TN.
ESPN's 3:60 did a feature on her, titled "Catching Kayla." I highly recommend watching it. Just get the tissues ready.
Photo: Catching Kayla
Bannister was the first to accomplish what everyone thought was impossible 61 years ago -- break a four-minute mile.
This is a picture of Bannister while on his record breaking run at Iffley Road, Oxford, May 6, 1954, crossing the line with a time of 3:59.4.
What's amazing is that he conquered this feat with nowhere near the training athletes use today. In fact, Bannister was a junior doctor at the time.
Bannister's record opened the flood gates. His world record stood for just 46 days. He's now an 86 year-old retired neurologist, living in the UK.
3:43.13 is the current world record for the mile.
Reinertsen lost her left leg to a muscle disease when she was a kid, only to become the first female adult amputee to win an Ironman.
She lost her leg at age 7 after being diagnosed with a birth defect called proximal focal deficiency. Fast forward and she later became a star on the TV show The Amazing Race after scaling the Great Wall of China.
At Ironman Hawaii in 2005, Reinertsen finished in 15 hours, 5 minutes with over 400 two-legged people still behind her.
Prefonatine. One of the most glorified names in American sports.
Pre once held American records in seven different events from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters, becoming a cultural icon and helping to set the stage for the Nike boom, (his coach Bill Bowerman was the founder).
In his four years at Oregon, Pre never lost a collegiate race in the 5K or 10K. And although he finished fourth in the 5K at the '72 Olympics in Munich, he continued to race and train for the '76 Montreal Olympics where many considered him to be a favorite until his untimely death in 1975 from a car accident.
Each year, thousands flock to Eugene, Oregon for the Prefontaine Classic.
Imagine not being able to run the Boston Marathon simply for being a woman.
Such was the case before 1967 until Switzer decided to run against the code.
In this picture, history is being made as Switzer is being "roughed up" by Jock Semple, Boston Marathon race manager, in an attempt to strip her bib number mid-race. You can read about the whole ordeal here in detail.
But Switzer finished the race, and even went on to win the NYC Marathon in 1974.
She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011 for "creating positive global social change."
Father-son combo Richard and Richard Jr. were a Boston Marathon staple for decades and possibly one of the most inspirational combos in American sports.
Rick was born in 1962 with cerebral palsy. His parents, Judy and Dick, were actually encouraged to institutionalize him because they were told he had no chance at living a normal life. But after soon proving that Rick's physical disabilities didn't hamper his mental abilities, their 'run' began.
In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
Rick and Dick ran over 1,000 races together, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 Ironmans). The duo even ran across the U.S. in 1992, running 3,735 miles in 45 days.
They've ran the Boston Marathon now 32 times.