Special Olympics Zimbabwe athlete Nyasha Derera has been beating the odds for his entire life.
From his childhood, Nyasha was isolated as “different” and placed in special school programs away from his friends.
Determined to integrate himself back with his peers, Nyasha discovered a passion for running through his participation in Special Olympics. Since his introduction to Special Olympics in 2012, Nyasha has earned over 20 medals in various athletics competitions.
This past weekend, Nyasha accomplished another lifelong goal of his: to run in the Berlin Marathon.
Two days before the race, Nyasha met his role model Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, one of the most accomplished runners in history. Eliud has won four Olympics medals in his career, including golds in the marathon event at 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo.
Eliud wrote a simple message on Nyasha’s bib number that he would wear during the race: “No human is limited.”
He was right.
Nyasha finished the Berlin Marathon on 25 September 2022 in 4 hours and 51 minutes, not quite a personal best, but for him, the pinnacle of a dream fulfilled.
While Nyasha’s running accomplishments speak for themselves, he would tell you his most important feat is the impact he’s made on others, particularly his fellow peers with intellectual disabilities.
Now a Special Olympics Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger (SSIGM), Nyasha has become a voice for the voiceless and is one of the most requested motivational speakers within the organization.
In his first year alone as a SSIGM, Nyasha delivered remarks at Special Olympics World Headquarters, the United Nations, and the press conference formally announcing the 2023 Special Olympics World Games location in… where else… Berlin.
Nyasha will play a pivotal role during next summer’s Berlin World Games and will surely be an inspirational figure to the athletes competing in athletics events.
Oh, and as for Nyasha’s new friend Eliud Kipchoge? It seems Nyasha inspired the accomplished Olympian, too.
Two days after meeting Nyasha, Eliud smashed the Berlin Marathon world record by running it in 2 hours and 1 minute.