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UMass-Lowell athlete who lost leg hopes to race in 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games

Italy's Graziana Contrafatto (left), Japan's Tomomi Tozawa (center) and Noelle Lambert (right) compete in the women's 100m T63 final during the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai on Nov. 13, 2019. Lambert, a UMass-Lowell graduate, now sets her sights on the Paralympics Trials in June in Minnesota and hopes to race the 100M in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Italy's Graziana Contrafatto (left), Japan's Tomomi Tozawa (center) and Noelle Lambert (right) compete in the women's 100m T63 final during the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai on Nov. 13, 2019. Lambert, a UMass-Lowell graduate, now sets her sights on the Paralympics Trials in June in Minnesota and hopes to race the 100M in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images

Noelle Lambert doesn’t remember getting into the starting blocks. She has no recollection of sprinting the 100M in the World Championships — or setting a U.S. record.

With so much adrenaline, “I honestly blacked out while I was completing the race. Which was good, because I’m usually overthinking it,” says Lambert, 22, who graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in May.

The Manchester, NH resident, who trains at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, did more than just complete the race — she placed 4th in the world in her division (T63) of above-the-knee amputees in the 100M. With a time of 16.31 seconds, she also set a U.S. record.

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Not bad for someone who just turned her attention to track in May.

“After graduating and playing lacrosse, I wanted to continue to be an athlete and be as active as I could. So I turned to running,” she says.

A UMass-Lowell lacrosse phenom, Lambert lost her left leg in a moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard in 2016, the summer before her sophomore year.

She not only returned to the Riverhawks lacrosse field, but founded her own nonprofit: the Medfield-based Born to Run Foundation helps donate specialized athletic prosthetics to young amputees.

With only a few track meets under her belt, she qualified for the U.S. Paralympic team earlier this year and competed at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai Nov. 7-15.

She now sets her sights on the Paralympics Trials in June in Minnesota. Her goal is to race the 100M in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

In this Jan. 18, 2019 file photo, UMass Lowell lacrosse star and amputee Noelle Lambert meets with three-year-old Isaak Depelteau who recently lost his leg to illness, at Isaak's home in Amherst, N.H. Lambert started her own prosthetics charity after losing her leg.
In this Jan. 18, 2019 file photo, UMass Lowell lacrosse star and amputee Noelle Lambert meets with three-year-old Isaak Depelteau who recently lost his leg to illness, at Isaak's home in Amherst, N.H. Lambert started her own prosthetics charity after losing her leg. Cheryl Senter

Lambert trains at the Reggie Lewis Center with her coach Sherman Hart and teammate/mentor Femita Ayanbeku, a below-the-knee amputee and Brockton High School alum who placed 6th in the 200M at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

“I didn’t know I broke the U.S record until Femita came around the corner crying,” Lambert says. “She was saying ‘New American record!’ It was amazing to find out from her, because she’s taken me under her wing.”

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Lambert was honored as a “Heroes Among Us” by the Boston Celtics in January, and received a Myra Kraft Community MVP Award from the Kraft family and the New England Patriots this summer for her work with the Born To Run Foundation.

The Foundation recently made its sixth donation -- a specialized recreational arm -- to New Jersey yoga instructor Melanie Waldman.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.


Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twiiter @laurendaley1.