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John Carroll Catholic Student Completes Marathon Helping Bring Attention to Autism

Jack Burke, a junior at John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, recently completed his first marathon, the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon, at the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in Fort Oglethorpe, GA.

Several months ago, Burke’s uncle approached him about running long miles with a man he trains with severe, non-verbal autism. Coincidentally, the man’s name is also Jack, Jack Knight. Burke didn’t hesitate and jumped at the chance to train for a marathon and share the experience with his soon-to-be new friend.

The duo trained for five months, running 10-20 miles every weekend, culminating in running the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in support of Kulture City, a non-profit organization supporting sensory inclusion.

Burke said crossing the finish line was “amazing,” and that he loved every minute of it. “I can’t wait to run more!” He is also very proud of the efforts to support Kulture City.

Knight, a 27-year old, has autism which creates significant difficulties for him regarding communication and sensory regulation. His interest in running began with a 5K run which he completed with his parents, Diane and Greg. Even though the run was not an easy one, all three crossed the finish line. After the fulfillment of completing the 5K, Knight indicated he wanted to run longer distances, hoping to one day complete a marathon. For over two years, Knight, with the help of his strength coach, Kevin, trained to improve his overall physical health. Leading up to the Mercedes Marathon, Knight completed four half-marathons. Inspiring those around him, lovingly called “Jack’s Pack,” Knight has brought attention and encouraged acceptance of individuals with autism and other invisible disabilities.


To learn more about Kulture City, visit their website at www.kulturecity.org.


Photo Caption: Jack Burke (right) and Jack Knight (left) celebrate after finishing Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon.