2012 ING Miami Marathon On A Hand-Cycle

Each year ING hosts a marathon in Downtown Miami called the ING MIAMI.  It’s a 26.2 mile marathon specifically for runners.  Although, the nice people who organize the ING Miami marathon allow disabled athletes to hand-cycle 5 minutes prior to the official start.

I live in West Palm Beach, which is 1-2 hours away from Miami depending on traffic. For this reason, my wife and I stayed at a hotel down in Miami the night before the race.  The marathon started promptly at 6:00am the next morning, and I needed to be there at 5:00am to get ready.   Just the thought of waking up at 4:15am in the morning made me want to vomit.  Sure, I had trained for the 26 mile marathon, but my training sessions were usually in the afternoon…

Prior to start there was a designated section for all hand-cycles to get prepared.  As Ana and I arrived at 5:00am most of the other handcyclists were already getting ready to race.  I was so tired when we rushed out of the hotel that I forgot to eat anything.  All I could find before the race at 5:00am was 2 bananas.. Beggars can’t be choosers, so I quickly inhaled 2 bananas  I’d say we had about 30-40 riders in total (hand-cycles and racing wheelchairs), as opposed to the thousands of runners who started just minutes after us.

As we approached the starting line the runners gave us an amazingly warm welcome. Thank you very much. It was appreciated more than you know..

The race was 26.2 looooong miles.  I wasn’t racing to win, I simply wanted to beat my fastest time of 1:52 (1 hour 52 minutes).. In the end, after weaving through the dark morning streets of downtown Miami Beach, I was able to do just that. I finished the race at a new personal best of 1:48 (1 hour 48 minutes).  And if you read my last post about the Palm beach Marathon, yes, the little girl who weighs 100 lbs beat me, again…

Although, this 26.2 mile race is small potatoes compared to the MS 150 in April…. The MS 150 is a non-profit ride for MS April 21-22.  The ride consists of 75 miles from Miami to Key Largo, and wake up the next day and ride 75 miles back to Miami.  This year I WILL FINISH!!! Anyone in South Florida up for the challenge??

Anyone in a wheelchair who has never used a handcycle, I strongly suggest giving it a try.  The cardio benefits are great, along with the priceless freedom of being able to cruise without your wheelchair. Let me know if you have ANY questions.

 

 

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  • Rafal
    Reply

    Hi:

    First and foremost, congratulations on beating your record and setting a new personal best!

    I got to your blog thanks to my bother [in-la1w], who has been participating in various marathons throughout the country with his wife (my sister) for a few years now. They are able-bodied, whereas I use crutches and a wheelchair due to having a slight form of Cerebral Palsy. Since they began running they have encouraged me to likewise get involved — and I really want to! The only problem is I don’t have $2,000-$6,000 for a wheelchair or hand-cycle. I am unemployed and just a little over a year away from finishing my B.A. in communication, media & theatre.

    Do you have any suggestions on how someone in my particular predicament could go about getting into the seat of a hand-cycle? Any info/ideas you could give are greatly appreciated; I thank you in advance!

    My best to you in your future endeavors.

    Sincerely,

    ~Rafal

    • Jacob
      Reply

      Rafal,

      Thanks for reading. Ya, hand-cycles are super expensive. I have a couple suggestions which may get you in a hand-cycle for a fraction of the price. 1) Depending on where you live, there may be a non-profit organization such as “Achilles International”, which sole purpose is to encourage people with disabilities to become more active. For example, Achilles International is local near me in South Florida. If you don’t have a hand-cycle, they will provide you with one to ride each time they get together. They will also pay your entry fees for all marathons you race with them. 2) Look into something called the “Challenged Athletes Foundation” (“CAF”). Basically, they are a large non-profit foundation that issues thousands of grants each year. Anyone can apply for a grant through their website. You have to show that you are somewhat active in the sport of your choosing, and that you want to take your hobby to the next level, and you need this peice of equipment (ie: hand-cycle, sit-ski, rugby wheelchair, etc) to get to the level you’d like to be at. You eventually get a voucher worth anywhere from around $1,500-$2,500 towards the peice of equipment. In your situation, it would be good to get involved with an organization first. That way, when you apply for equipment next year you can show that you’ve in fact been riding and working hard, rather than applying and they know you’ve never sat on a handcycle. 3) You could keep a watch on eBay or Craigslist. Sometimes you can find a decent deal on a solid hand-cycle. My personal preference is the Top End FORCE hand-cycles. They make multiple hand-cycles, basically the more expensive the higher skill/race level. I’m currently in the market for a Force-R, which is ridiculously expensive. Anyways, hope this helps. Rock on.

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