Ian Winson – Returning to the Marathon

New York Marathon 1st November 2015 - Click here to sponsor Ian

As many of you know , In 2011 I was involved in a horrific accident with a team of work colleagues that left me with permanent physical challenges. Both legs had to be amputated above the knees and both arms were left with permanent injuries. I also suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Since that dreadful day I have had 25 surgeries to ‘fix’ me up (the latest last December) but vowed that the accident would not define me and that I would get on with life and try to do the activities that I did before. Prior to the day I was an operational engineer with a passion for sport. I have played hockey at provincial level, completed Ironman and enjoyed social endurance sports. I went to the gym daily and had a passion for encouraging others to get fit and participate. Significantly, Aaron Carter of Totalsport and I created the Legend Marathon event which is now in its 11th year.

My previous life before the incident undoubtable was one of the reasons I survived…so it was a normal thought process that I would return to endurance a strength sport to aid my recovery. I have learnt to walk on prosthesis and continue to develop this to a stage where I can walk on my own. Learning to swim was a huge challenge but this has been negotiated and I now train 5 times a week for up to 90mins per session.

Late last year the committee members of Achilles NZ contacted me to see if I would like to be part of their charity. One of the programs the Achilles do is to take physically challenged athletes to the New York Marathon. For me this was going to be a challenge as I am unable to run or walk it and due to the damage of my arms cannot ‘hand crank’ it. After some thought and talking with the artificial limb centre a special set of riding legs have been made for me to actually ride the marathon on a foot crank recumbent tricycle.

Achilles International Background Achilles International is a worldwide organisation whose mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities and challenges to participate in mainstream athletics, promote personal achievement, and enhance self-esteem and lower barriers.

In 1976, New Yorker Dick Traum, an above the knee amputee, found himself approaching middle age and out of shape. After joining a local YMCA, Dick began running – small distances at first and then, eventually several miles. Within a year, Dick became the first amputee to run the New York City Marathon. The experience was life changing, bringing a powerful sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. In 1983, seeking to provide that same opportunity to other people with disabilities, Dick created the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International.

Today, this non-profit organisation has chapters and members in over 65 locations within the United States and in other countries such as China, Russia, England, Australia and many others including our own local chapter in New Zealand.

Achilles in New Zealand

The first athlete with a disability to travel from New Zealand to do the New York Marathon with Achilles Track Club was Brian Froggatt from Dargaville in 1985. Brian is an above knee amputee who has gone on to be a champion weightlifter and still keeps in touch Dick Traum.

In 1993 John Riley became the second above knee amputee from New Zealand to complete the New York Marathon along with his coach Peter Loft, both from Whangarei. When they returned from New York, John and Peter - along with Craig Jessop and Myles Flynn, and supported by Gina Flynn and Yvonne Loft - set up the Achilles Track Club New Zealand, based in Auckland.

Today Achilles International New Zealand (Achilles NZ) provides New Zealanders with disabilities the opportunity to participate with able-bodied athletes in local mainstream events, like Wellington Round the Bays, Taupo Half Marathon and Wellington Marathon (to name just a few), as well as at high-profile international events like the New York Marathon.

New York Marathon – 20 Year History

For the last 20 years Chairman Peter Loft has taken a team of disabled athletes and guides to the annual New York Marathon held on the first Sunday in November. Over this time he has built up an ongoing relationship with New York Road Runners, Achilles International USA and Achilles Founder Dick Traum. Each year the team travels to New York, arriving a few days before the marathon, they meet other disabled athletes from around the globe, and participate in the most prestigious and coveted road race in the world along with 50,000 others.

An experience that will change their lives forever in a meaningful and positive way.

These athletes also inspire and motivate others through their achievement, enabling others with disabilities to see and believe that dreams can come true, that they too, despite having a disability, can achieve a marathon.

The cost of getting an athlete to the start of the New York Marathon is approximately NZD$5,150.00. This amount covers airfare, accommodation and race entry and is raised by the athlete through either fundraising or personal means.

I would be grateful if you could give a little to get me to NY..click here to sponsor me!


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