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MSU student with rare disorder will defy odds as he lines up for Boston Marathon

(Mankato, MN) – A 22-year-old Minnesota State Mankato student who will take his place at the 2019 Boston Marathon starting line has an incredible story behind his journey to get there.

Jacob Peterson has myoclonus-dystonia, a rare and disabling neurological movement disorder.  He sometimes experiences uncontrollable jerking movements in his arms and upper body, tremors in his legs, involuntary blinking, muscle spasms in his neck, and anxiety.

“Dystonia doesn’t only affect you physically,” Peterson explained.  “It affects you mentally, and it’s exhausting.”

But running is something that can make those symptoms disappear.  And Peterson, it seems, was born to run.  He inherited his love of running from his father and was in fact, born on marathon Sunday during the 1996 Olympics.  When he was a child, he watched the Boston Marathon on TV.  By 4th grade, he had a goal to run in a marathon.

While Peterson was training for the Twin Cities Marathon to qualify for Boston, he was assaulted.  He was injured so severely that his jaw was broken in multiple places.  But Peterson kept on pushing: “I thought if I can get through that, and I can get through dystonia, I can run a marathon,” he said.  The assault made qualifying for the Boston Marathon even more meaningful.

“I want to spread awareness, and run on behalf of those with dystonia who can’t.  My case is not as severe as other people I have met,” said Peterson.

Peterson has started a Go Fund Me page has been started to benefit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.  He is a senior at MSU and is expected to graduate in May 2019 with a degree in sports management.

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