Jo Beckwith: “Running has been my dream, and amputation has made it possible again”

Faced with a life-altering decision, she decided to document the process of her leg amputation for the world. Now, she wants to start running.

When I was 13, a horseback riding accident shattered my ankle. My injury progressively grew worse, and 14 years of surgeries followed. Running was off-limits; the impact between my foot and the ground was too painful. There was no hope of fully healing, and I didn’t like the life I was living. I could barely walk. So at 27, I considered amputating my leg below the knee.

Faced with this life-altering decision, I started documenting my thought process on camera—why I was thinking about amputation, how I was dealing with people’s opinions. I published the videos on YouTube, and they eventually garnered tens of thousands of views.

I’ve posted consistent updates since, including one about a second amputation which cut off more of my leg. My bones hadn’t healed properly from the first.

Running has been my dream, and amputation has made it possible again. A friend gifted me a running blade and I’m training for my first 5K. Learning how to run safely with my prosthesis, without injuring other parts of my body, is a delicate process.

This is the reality of prosthetics - some days they are incredible!
Jo Beckwith Photo ©

But every time I go out, I run a bit longer. I imagine a lot of runners face what I’m feeling—I just happen to be on a foot and a blade! There’s a lot to work on, but it’s so exciting.

Why I Run

We forget that a lot of what we go through is shared in the human experience. What I’ve faced—wanting to run again, running later in life as an amputee—is not unique to me; it’s similar to the emotional journeys and struggles of others. I now have the incredible opportunity to feel my body move, and move fast. I run now to experience the power and resilience of my body­, because I finally can!