Meet the ultra-marathoner who won’t let her disability define her

“Beating the Odds” profiles people who despite their physical and health challenges, have pushed on to pursue their dreams and accomplish some incredible things. 

Amy Palmiero-Winters was born to run. As a young athlete, she competed in track and field competitions until she was involved in a major accident that left her with no choice but to amputate her leg below the knee.

“Running was an outlet for me,” she told In The Know. “It was something that made me feel good about who I was.”

Palmiero-Winters was 21 at the time of her accident. She was riding her motorcycle and was hit by a car. At first, running seemed it would no longer be an option.

“The first time I went out and tried to run, I was pretty devastated,” Palmiero-Winters told In The Know. “I felt that there had to be something better out there — wearing a prosthetic can’t be this bad.”

She was determined to find a solution, and ultimately got it at Step Ahead Prosthetics in New York. The staff at Step Ahead asked Palmiero-Winters what she wanted out of her prosthetic — she told them she wanted to be an Olympic athlete.

More than 20 years later, she hasn’t let her disability define her. Instead, it’s given her the motivation to beat her odds and win grueling and extreme athletic competitions, including a 140-mile race in the Moroccan desert.

Palmiero-Winters sees her challenges as being totally normal, and that mindset has allowed her to become the accomplished athlete she always wanted to be.

“What’s happened to me isn’t any different than what anyone else out there experiences,” she told In The Know. “It’s just a different set of circumstances.”

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