MAY 29, 1985


Reilly, who is half Inupiaq, was born in Anchorage, Alaska.  Paralyzed from the waist down at birth, her early life was marked by frequent operations.  Her family moved to California where, in high school, Reilly took part in track athletics. She competed in the 2002 IWAS World Games and participated in the Summer Paralympics at the 2004 Athens Games.  Moving to marathons, she won wheelchair section of the Los Angeles Marathon in 2006.  In her second Paralympic appearance, she competed in the 1500 metres, 5000 metres and the marathon (finishing seventh in the latter event).  The following year she was runner-up at the Gasparilla Distance Classic, and third at both the 2009 Boston Marathon and Grandma’s Marathon.  Having become a regular at the Boston Marathon starting in 2005, she was runner up in 2011 and finally won the race in 2012.  Reilly also represented the USA at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships.  

Sources:  “Shirley Reilly,”  Retrieved 7/1/2019, Alex DeMarban, “Alaska Native headed to London Olympics for wheelchair racing,” 4/26/2012. Anchorage Daily News, 4/26/2012. Retrieved on 7/1/2019,
Photo:  Hyunah Jang, BU Interactive News, 4/16/2012.  Permissive Use under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license,

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