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From left to right, Chalis, Rob, Pete and Chris Benda pose for a picture after the Park City Half Marathon on Saturday. Adam Spencer/The Park Record

Fifteen-year-old Peter Benda had run the Park City Half Marathon for four years straight prior to Saturday's event. He wasn't about to let the fact that he broke his femur and suffered a traumatic brain injury in October stop him from making his fifth-straight appearance.

Despite spending two and a half months in a coma after his injury, which occurred when he fell from a cherry picker while changing the lights before a school play at Juan Diego High School, he never saw skipping Saturday's half marathon as an option.

"I've done it for, like, five years and so I had to come and do it," he said.

Benda's mom and dad, Chris and Rob Benda, said they never thought he'd be able to keep his streak alive.

"He couldn't walk, he couldn't talk, he couldn't swallow," Chris Benda said. "He relearned all those things."

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon.

Though doctors said there was a 90 percent chance Benda's injury would leave him in a vegetative state, he was up and walking the Park City Half Marathon.

"Even with the 10 percent chance, there was still a chance he would be in a wheelchair or have some physical limitations," Chris Benda said. "But he just did a half marathon."

Coming around the last bend at Newpark Plaza, with the finish line in sight, Benda, along with his team of supporters in green "Run for Pete, Pray for Pete" shirts, broke into a slow jog, crossing the finish to the cheers of supporters and all those in attendance.


"No one even thought I'd be able to do it," he said. "It was pretty awesome, pretty cool."

Though Benda is still dealing with the effects of his traumatic brain injury, he returned to school on Monday, determined to make friends and slowly return to normalcy.

His parents and trainers said Benda's determination is inspiring.

"When he came out of his coma, the first thing he said was, 'I will win this thing ,'" Rob Benda said.

" no matter how hard or crazy, I swear," Chris Benda continued, completing the first sentence Pete spoke on Jan. 6.

They hope he'll be able to soon begin doing some of the things he enjoyed before his accident.

"He just loves doing different things," Rob Benda said. "He played lacrosse, he's a swimmer, he had the lead in a school play 'High School Musical.'"

"He's just sort of a jack of all trades," Chris Benda added.

Benda's not sure of his long-term goals yet, but it's probably safe to say he'll be back at the Park City Half Marathon next summer.

And it's probably safe to say he'll challenge himself to finish even faster than this year.