Emotional video shows Nike surprising a University of Oregon runner who has cerebral palsy with a professional contract

  • University of Oregon junior and club runner Justin Gallegos lives with cerebral palsy, but that hasn't stopped him from aspiring to break the two-hour barrier in a half marathon.
  • Nike's insight director John Douglass showed up at practice to surprise Gallegos with a three-year professional running contract, making him Nike's first-ever professional athlete with cerebral palsy.
  • Elevation 0m released a moving video of Gallegos receiving the news on Saturday — World Cerebral Palsy Day — that has since gone viral.

Justin Gallegos lives with cerebral palsy — a condition that affects body movement and muscle coordination — but that hasn't stopped the Oregon junior from pursuing his dream of breaking the two-hour barrier in a half marathon.

According to Anne Francis of Running Magazine, Gallegos used a walker as a child, but he was able to improve his gait enough to walk without one after physical therapy treatment. As a freshman in high school, the Santa Clarita, California native began running for the cross country team and strove to run with the UO Track Club in college.

Seven years later, Gallegos signed a three-year running contract with Nike to become the brand's first professional athlete with cerebral palsy.

"Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is... like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest," Gallegos said in an Instagram post. "It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor! Hard work pays off!"

Elevation 0m released a moving video of Gallegos receiving the news on World Cerebral Palsy Day that has since gone viral.

At his first meet with the UO Track Club, one of Gallegos' Nike Pegasus shoes fell off just 50 meters into the race. According to Romaine Soh at the Daily Emerald, Gallegos stopped to pick up the shoe but continued running with it in his hands until teammates coaxed him to stop.

Gallegos is no stranger to press coverage. Before signing his contract with Nike, he had been featured in ESPN and FloTrack pieces. This caught the attention of John Traux, a footwear marketing manager in Nike's running department, and soon the duo was working to develop running shoes for people with disabilities. The FlyEase running shoe — which boasts an innovative lace system and zippered heels for comfort and convenience — is sold in sizes for men, women, and kids.

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Gallegos almost did not achieve his goal of running at the University of Oregon due to the price of out-of-state tuition. Traux worked with university officials to help him find finding, and Gallegos' GoFundMe page has already raised $11,818.

In April of this year, Gallegos came in just 3:49 past his dream mark at the Eugene Half Marathon. With Nike's support, he should be running toward that dream for years to come.

RELATED: People react to Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign

People react to Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign
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People react to Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign
.@Nike Due to your support of C.K. in your coming adds, I as an American can no longer support your company.… https://t.co/vKkFpsg87P
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me… https://t.co/ZUqEd7ldUd
Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions. https://t.co/h8kj6RXe7j
The Twitter user ArtenenAeolus shared a video, since deleted, of a man burning some Nike products. (ArtenenAeolus/Twitter)
When you find out #nike is supporting #ColinKaepernick #BoycottNike 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/EQRGcPoaFr
When you find out #nike is supporting #ColinKaepernick #BoycottNike 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/EQRGcPoaFr
Nike ran the numbers. They’ll be ok. But please, burn your socks.
Not playing around. #BackTheBlue #BackTheArmedForces #NikeBoycott https://t.co/uoJcRVJZM5
I just gave $10 this weekend to a homeless veteran. Instead of burning your Nike gear like a goddamned idiot, donat… https://t.co/57AUzQbNL2
#NikeBoycott meet this #VeteransForKaepernick Retired Navy Chief. I served so that Kap can have his voice and spea… https://t.co/QspDdYckjZ
Waiting for Goodwill to open this week with all the new Nike gear... #ColinKaepernick #nikeboycott https://t.co/4nqSOrknrj
Hey #Nike . I don't wear politics or anything related to #ColinKaepernick I no longer buy 5 to 6 pairs per year of… https://t.co/IlATG1XUMI
.@Nike Due to your support of C.K. in your coming adds, I as an American can no longer support your company.… https://t.co/vKkFpsg87P
Let me guess we‘re boycotting Nike because by them supporting Colin Kaepernick they are somehow “disrespecting the… https://t.co/VJF0LOJXDG
Ripping my Nike Air Max to own the libs #BoycottNike https://t.co/FYzpNoZiHX
Can't believe Nike would do such a thing. @Nike @Kaepernick7 #fire #JustDoIt #BoycottNike https://t.co/otqcS49AMu
.@Nike how you going to endorse @Kaepernick7 a person that advertises socks with cops portrayed as pigs, a person t… https://t.co/V2AW0OoMvI
@BreitbartNews Burned my #Nike https://t.co/62rQsXomRH
@TheLastRefuge2 @R_Daneel_0livaw Takin out the trash @Nike #nikeboycott https://t.co/Iz532FatEQ
I just wrote “NIKE” on twenty dollar bills and burned them to own the libs.
wow can’t believe colin kaepernick just became the official spokesperson of brake lines
I'm finally cutting out the Nike logos out of my Nike pillow case! https://t.co/cP9Un6PVzH
Breaking: Nike responds to MAGA backlash https://t.co/8NQj0Y9Hkt
them: Gonna burn/throw away my Nike gear because they are unpatriotic Nike: https://t.co/k1kroZ02cG
“This is terrible marketing. Just awful. I’m gonna show everyone how terrible this is. That’ll show Nike.” https://t.co/XNN06YnPMF
Racists: I’m never buying Nike again Nike: https://t.co/YGD23VWVFA
nike brilliantly found a way to get the least stylish people to stop wearing its stuff
oh wow not sure how Nike's going to survive if they lose the 70 year old white man market
When you can’t find a cross https://t.co/efrqlN09fH
Me, looking to see if anybody burns some Jordans rather the Nike’s they got on the clearance rack https://t.co/5ZKHvpqJOP
Going one step further and no longer worshiping Nike as my goddess of victory. Will ONLY recognize Victoria, her Ro… https://t.co/m1SnsmHcws
Wow Nike. Not a good look https://t.co/MZrOXdukxV
I actually need a new pair of workout shoes. The choices are dizzying. The #NikeBoycott helps me narrow the decisi… https://t.co/rqKgx8hAfY
I Always thought the Air Jordan’s craze was silly. But I will be buying 10 pairs of Those "Air Kaepernick’s" when t… https://t.co/xQM13jsWej
Whether you agree with Nike doing the Kaepernick ad or not it’s bold and I like it. Wish more big companies took risk to make a statement.
✊🏾 https://t.co/P5xQr2lwLk
Legendary. https://t.co/mvS6ChlXhH

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