Picture on the front page

They started the lone wheelchair racer (John) about 5 minutes ahead of the congested pack of Half Marathoners. He merited an escort for a few reasons. He races low to the ground, hard to see. He mostly keeps his head down. He was the first racer on the course and the police were only at major intersections. The race wound through neighborhoods and cars emerged from side streets. So they asked me, very obviously visible, to accompany him.

The picture was taken at the point when the two lead runners had made up that 5 minute head start, almost exactly 6.5 miles into the race. They were amazing.

I tried to stay about 50-100 yards ahead of the wheelchair, in order to stop emergers, or alert the cops. On the uphills, John slowed some. But on the downside of those hills, he flew, catching me. On the flats, which was most of the course, he pushed a steady 12-13 mph, making me work. When the picture was taken, we were in a park behind a High School with no cross traffic, so I hung right with John. At the end of 13.1 miles, I could feel my legs asking for a break. Can you imaging how his arms must have felt? Very impressive young man.

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That’s pretty cool. I’ve seen those wheelchair athletes at the Peachtree Road race and they are moving pretty fast. Good thing you were on a Coker.

That is so cool in so many ways. I have seen a guy with TWO prosthetic legs RUNNING on the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle. I have seen a guy with one leg riding his bike on the same trail. We are unworthy.

I agree. I used to do half-marathons, and it was so inspiring to see people in wheelchairs and with prosthetic legs. These people were true athletes. It really did move me to push myself.

It removes all the excuses we tend to make for ourselves about why we can’t do things.

I’ve “paced” wheelchair racers myself while on two wheels. Some of those guys can really haul a**. They’ve got alot of heart:)
I have a friend that has a prosthesis from when he lost a leg just below the knee many years ago. He races bicycles (mountain and road) and does very well. Last summer, I was shocked to find he could also ride my MUni:D

Great picture, Tom. Way to present the sport of unicycling in such a great way.

I did a 150 mile self supported stage race across the Sahara desert. That means we had a ~30 backpack! Most of the way I ran it with a guy that had a false lower leg. Amazing and motivating!

wheelchair and uni race

Thanks Memphis Mud,

Your post has helped me in trying to work out if it is feasible to host a short race between unicycles and wheelchairs.

We were hoping to host a “race” (just for fun) to promote our national unicycle championships in Australia from July 1st - 4th this year.

It sounds like it would work as obviously the unathletic wheelchair competitors would be nowhere near as fast as that guy.

Cheers,

Deb.

Deb,

What an interesting idea.

If your unicyclists use Cokers (36"), they’ll win on a long race. But put them on a 24 and it’ll be a different story. Notice John’s racing wheelchair. I think just about anyone who is into racing enough to own one of those, will kick some serious uni-butt.

Maybe, if you have enough racers and some ingenuity, you could do some time trials. Races are always much more exciting between evenly matched competitors. It might turn out that head-to-head, a 24" or 26" is just about right. Depends on the event too…sprint or marathonish. This was a 13.1 mile ride. I’d have collapsed trying to race him that distance on a 24. And it won’t be very exciting if the wheelchair just anialates the unis either.

We’d love to hear how your event turns out.