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Health Check: Teen born with rare heart defect set to run Boston Marathon

Despite a heart condition, Austin Prario, 19, of the Mapleville section of Burrillville, is gearing up for the 2017 Boston Marathon. (WJAR/Submitted photo)

Austin Prario, 19, of the Mapleville section of Burrillville, runs almost every single day.

He admits that he sometimes doesn’t feel like going out and training.

"But after I'm done, it feels really good,” he said.

Prario’s start in life was rough. His parents were told some devastating news early on.

"They found out six weeks before I was born that I had a congenital heart defect and my heart wasn't functioning correctly," said Prario.

He had three heart chambers instead of four.

"So, at two days old, I had my first surgery,” said Prario. “Then, at 17 months, and then again at 3."

Doctors made it clear he would never run a marathon.

Prario’s father was determined that if his son couldn't run a marathon, he would at least cross the finish line -- which he did, in his arms in April 1998, even before Prario turned 1.

But that was never good enough for Prario. He wanted to actually run the marathon.

Still, his heart doesn't operate like most. He said it’s like a bicycle.

"You have a big bike rider and a little kid. Their tires go twice while yours goes once, so that's how my heart basically works,” he said.

But Prario has heart -- and lots of it. He's determined to run the upcoming Boston Marathon.

"I had to get the Boston Athletic Association,” he said. “I had to get the children's hospital, my doctor. It had to be a big loop. It took a long time but it'll be worth it."

Worth it, he said, when he runs in the 121st Boston Marathon on April 17. He said he’ll be the first participant with a heart condition such as his.

“I'm the first one and it's a humbling thing to be able to do this,” Prario said. “But my goal is to have a little kid look at me do this and go, 'Well, I can do that.'"

Click here for more about Prario's journey.


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