Twin Autistic Brothers Go for Greatness One Mile at a Time
Twin brothers. 200 races. 26.2 miles. 15 marathons. When it comes to running, Alex and Jamie Schneider have done it all. What makes their story even more interesting is that they were both diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at just 21 months old.
Alex and Jamie Schneider
The Schneider twins were 15 years old when they started competing. They have participated in approximately 200 races including 15 marathons and two ultra marathons, which are double the standard marathon distance. In addition to their rigorous running schedule (training 3 to 4 times a week), the boys enjoy swimming, horseback riding, walks in the park, and going on vacations with their family.
In one of his more recent triumphs, Alex won first place with an unbeatable time of 3 minutes and 9 seconds in the Just Cause We Run Journey For Autism Race. Here is a video of the unforgettable moment when he crossed the finish line.
Interview with Robyn K. Schneider, Alex and Jamie’s Mom
In a conversation the twins’ mother and author of Silent Running, Robyn K. Schneider (pictured above), we learned more about Alex and Jamie and their family’s story. Here is a snippet from the interview:
Q: What are the greatest challenges in preparing for and competing in these races?
A: They run in mainstream races alongside and competing with typically developing runners. The greatest challenges are getting them up and ready in the morning because our home routine needs to be perfectly synchronized. And also it is challenging to keep up their training, but we have rarely missed a training practice in over 10 years! They enjoy it so much that it motivates my husband and me to get up and run ourselves!
Q: What is your favorite part about watching your boys run?
A: The very best part is seeing them among all the other runners because they are no longer defined by their autism but rather they are just runners. My heart is full every time I see them cross the finish line.
Q: Is there one race that stands more than other races? What makes this one special?
A: The 2013 NYC Marathon. It was so exciting because our story was featured on Good Morning America and World News Tonight on the day of the Marathon and they filmed each of my sons crossing the finish line.
Q: Why do you believe running (or any physical activity) can be beneficial for adults with autism?
A: I believe running has has made a huge impact on the lives of my sons. It has given them an outlet for their energy, sharpened their focus, reduced their anxiety, has afforded them opportunities for socialization, has given structure to their everyday lives and it has had an emotional and physical impact in harmonizing their body and mind. They are currently training and preparing for the Suffolk County Marathon and half marathons in October and the Boston Marathon in April. To learn more about these hard working athletes, visit their website and check out Robyn’s book, Silent Running: Our Family’s Journey to the Finish Line with Autism (Buy it on Amazon).
MADISON HOUSE AUTISM FOUNDATION