Michael Savage began running as a way to cope but now he is hoping his track and field prowess will take him around the world.
Savage was diagnosed with autism when he was four or five years old and sometimes he had a hard time communicating with others.
As a coping mechanism, the youngster would find solace in running around the family’s Langley acreage.
“He has always been one of those kids (who) whenever they felt frustrated and couldn’t quite communicate what he wanted, he would go for a run, explained his father, Mike Savage.
“Anytime he looked like he was going to have a burnout, he would go do a few laps around the acreage.
“He has been doing that since he was seven years old, and has been running ever since.”
Savage is now 22.
“He has his moments like any child who has a hard time communicating what they want, but overall, he is a joy to say he is my son,” Mike said.
“It has been very challenging, but at the same time, rewarding,” added his mom, Tenny Savage.
“He has this contagious laugh and smile.”
On Saturday night, Michael Savage was one of 14 nominees from around the world for the excellence in sport award presented at the seventh annual ANCA World Autism Festival in Vancouver.
It was one of 11 awards overall presented with more than 100 nominees from 26 countries.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges from around the world and Savage placed second in his category.
“Wow, this is totally phenomenal and a tremendous experience,” he said in his acceptance speech.
“I have never felt so remarkable in my entire life.”
For the past two years, Savage has competed in Special Olympics in track and field.
Back in July, he won a pair of gold medals as well as four silvers at the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford.
Savage is hoping the sport can help him fulfill his dream of travelling around the world.
“He has a dream for track to take him around the world,” his father said.
“And the way he is running, he wants to get that chance and I think he is going to get to do it too.”