Interview with Double Amputee Blake Leeper After He Runs 45.25 400m

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By Jonathan Gault
June 23, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —  Double amputee Patrick “Blake” Leeper ran 45.25 in his semifinal heat of the 400m at the USATF National Championships. While it technically may have broken the officially recognized IPC record of 45.39 by Oscar Pistorius, Pistorius’ personal best was 45.07 which Leeper came up short of.

Leeper said Pistorius is the reason he is in the sport. Leeper was in college in 2008, hoping to become a doctor, when he saw Pistorius compete in the Olympics. He decided immediately that he wanted to run. 9 years later with many bumps in the road, Leeper is nearing Pistorius’ heights with much less fanfare.

Some of that may be because Leeper was banned from the sport for 2 years for testing positive for cocaine and only returned from his ban this year and has been much better since returning. Leeper was allowed to compete for part of 2016 while his ban was being appealed, when he ran his previous personal best of 46.54. That time snuck him into the USATF meet this year, where he lowered his personal best more than a second in Thursday’s first round to 45.52. He took another .27 off that Friday to run 45.25.

Leeper was a great interview and talked about wanting to inspire people and also his drug suspension and now being sober. He also said he didn’t mind people wondering if his prosthetic legs gave him an advantage as he works very hard.

HEAT 1
PLATHLETEMARKLN/POS
1 (1)Fred Kerley

Texas A&M
44.11 Q5
2 (2)Gil Roberts

Unattached
44.33 Q4
3 (3)Michael Norman Jr

Southern California
44.60 Q8
4 (4)Tony McQuay

adidas
44.82 Q6
5 (5)Mylik Kerley

Texas A&M
44.853
6 (8)Vernon Norwood

New Balance
45.067
7 (12)Patrick Leeper

Unattached
45.252
8 (15)Tyrese Cooper

Miami Gardens Xpress
46.121