Four years ago Charles Ardis was training in his Covington neighborhood to run in his very first Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race. However, a driver that lost control and hit Ardis ended up delaying his ability to run in that race for four years.
On July 4, Ardis plans to run in the race despite being told by his doctor he may never run again.
"The prognosis, long term, was 'We think we could get you walking again but running is out of the question,'" Ardis said.
During the four years of therapy and recovery he underwent four different surgeries. It took Ardis a year to learn how to walk again without a cane.
When the car clipped Ardis' leg on Brown Bridge Road it threw him into the windshield and tossed him more than 60 feet into the air and into a ditch.
"My bone snapped cleanly just below the knee and the fibula snapped halfway down," Ardis said. "And there was splintering below that. I also had an open book wound which means the ligament in front of my pelvis was stretched wide and open. My hip to sacrum was compromised. I had significant trauma to my abdomen, and pelvis."
Ardis was jogging with a friend, Tim Watts, who witnessed the whole thing.
"I saw the headlights and thought that car must see him," Watts said. "The bumper hit the knee, he folded into the windshield and he was just wind-milling, spiraling back at me."
Watts ran to make sure Ardis was alive and then ran to a nearby house to call 911. He has watched Ardis struggle with depression because of his injury and pick himself back up. Ardis' journey over the past four years is something Watts said motivates him to be better every day.
"I am very proud of him. He continues to exceed all expectations, he is my neighbor, my running buddy and a friend and it is good to see the grit and determination to survive it."
This will be the longest race Ardis has run since he was injured. He isn't worried about making a good time so much as finishing the race.
"My first goal is finish. Despite all the injuries and complications I still have, I can finish this. I have prepared mentally and physically I know I can finish. It will be sore, a couple of aspirin afterword and I'll be all right," Ardis said.
Ardis wanted to give a special thanks to everyone that helped him, including all of the visiting nurses and the Atlanta Medical Center for saving his life and leg. Specifically, Dr. Bruce Ziran, his staff and the support from his church First Presbyterian Church of Covington.
The driver that hit Ardis remained on scene and received a citation for failure to maintain his lane.
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