LOS ANGELES — The fact thatcan even run at all is a feat in and of itself. He was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects coordination and muscle movement.
"Initially when he started running he was falling. He would have bloody knees and 90 percent of the time he would pick himself up, and we would finish the run," said Brett Gallegos, Justin's father.
Justin's dream wasn't just to run, but to run fast. Despite his disability, he can do a seven-minute mile, and now competes with the University of Oregon running club. All that put him on Nike's radar.
This past weekend, at the end of a practice run, a company representative made a surprise announcement: Justin would be signed as an official Nike professional athlete.
"I'm still kind of in shock that it actually happened," he said.
On Instagram he wrote, "You don't realize how realistic your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes."
"I've never seen him that emotional," said Brett.
"Running really opened up doors to him. It gave him the opportunity to be on a team, to have friends, to be part of something," said Brett Gallegos.
As the moment sinks in, Justin's reaction says it all.
"It's been quite a ride and it's only, quite literally, just beginning," he said.
He plans to keep making great strides, through sheer will and determination.