For Nike, the goal was to break 2 hours in the marathon. For Justin Gallegos, a member of the running club at the University of Oregon, the goal was to break 2 hours in a half marathon. While both have yet to be achieved, one recent milestone occurred: Nike signed Gallegos, who has Cerebral Palsy, to a professional contract.
A powerful film, released Saturday on World Cerebral Palsy Day, commemorated the emotional moment when Nike product insights director for running footwear, John Truax, informed Gallegos of the company’s intention to make him one of the brand’s official athletes. Surrounded and supported by his club teammates and runners from rival Oregon State University, Gallegos was, unsurprisingly, overwhelmed and excited about the offer.
Posting to Instagram, Gallegos said that “growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest. I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other. Now I have signed a three-year contract with Nike Running.”
This is not the first time that Nike and Gallegos have joined forces. According to SI, the Oregon junior worked with the brand to develop the Pegasus 35 FlyEase, a shoe that assists runners with disabilities.
The film was produced by Eugene, Ore.-based creative agency Elevation 0m.