Double Amputee Finishes 50th Anniversary NYC Marathon on Handcycle
Written by CAF Ambassador Roderick Sewell
What an experience! The New York City marathon was an amazing event. With it being the 50th anniversary, the city came together in a way that brought joy to everyone involved. We’ve all been through a lot through this pandemic. Hardships as a collective and an eye opening experience to the struggles of others. Both 2020-2021, personally, have been humbling as well as amazing both with life and with training.
During this marathon, you could feel the city come alive. With covid having such an effect on each of us, proper precautions were taken, allowing everyone to enjoy the event comfortably. With that came a roar of cheering, music, laughter, tears, joy, and love.
Racing as a CAF athlete gave me a chance to represent and testride my carbon bike! It’s been a solid few months of training, and very little racing. This marathon was a nice way to get that race feel while enjoying the event. I was honored to ride alongside other cyclists like Glenn Hartrick, Billy Davis, Ricardo Corral, and many others!
With that being said, I wouldn’t mind going back to attempt running the marathon on blades. I got to see my fellow double amputees Marko Cheseto, Richard Whitehead, and of course, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, blaze through the course…the energy of the city following close behind like a wave.
This day had the best conditions for racing, no rain or heavy winds with good temperature, allowing athletes to truly perform. Marko Cheseto for example, double below knee amputee, running a 2:35 after recently going a 2:37 in the Chicago Marathon.
My marathon time on blades is 6 hours and 15 minutes. To me, this is unacceptable. Especially when you have Rudy running under 4 hours and Richard doing 3 and a half hours.
To be fair, my only marathon time was after swimming 2.4 miles and riding 112 miles during the Ironman…which is why racing the marathon on blades would be a good chance to see how fast I can go. I believe with proper training and socket alignment, going under 3 hours would be possible.
On another note – New York, and the loved ones there, hold a special place in my heart. Leaving Brooklyn to move to Colorado was tough. The people of Brooklyn made me feel at home in a way that I can’t help but miss. To come back and ride through a community that welcomed me, and a city that helped me grow, made the marathon that much more meaningful.
Roderick Sewell is a CAF ambassador and Paralympic athlete and swimmer who has represented Team USA. He is also the first bilateral above-the-knee amputee to finish the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona on prosthetic legs.
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