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Blind Runner To Compete In Chicago Marathon

(Credit: Jim Prisching/Getty Images)

(Credit: Jim Prisching/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Bank of America Chicago Marathon opens Sunday, and one athlete is already outrunning the odds.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner reports, Giovanni Francese is 36 years old and lost his sight to macular degeneration as a teenager. On Sunday, he will run his first marathon, and he has been training with a guide who will run with him on Sunday and he also been training with others.

Frances, who grew up in LaGrange Park, is an accomplished athlete who also plays baseball.

Giovanni’s family has a restaurant in LaGrange Park and he manages the cafeteria for the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Disabled.

His goal is to finish Sunday’s race in about five and-a-half hours.

He tells WBBM Newsradio that he has a simple message to others: “Any kind of a goal, anything that they have, they shouldn’t let any kind of disability stop them from achieving what they want.”

Janet Slyzk, President & Executive Director of the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Disabled, adds, “We’re so proud of him, and there’s a community base here (the Lighthouse) that supporting the lighthouse by their runs, raising funds.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner reports