Racing with Care2Tri Through the Eyes of a Differently-Abled Person by Alan Rodriguez

My name is Alan Rodriguez, I have Wilson’s Disease and I would like to express what it was like for me participating in the Gasparilla Distance Classic weekend with Care2Tri.

I’m a professional photographer and the official photographer for Care2Tri. I have been photographing every event/race that Care2Tri has been to now for about two years from an outsider’s perspective.

Photo of a cyclist pulling someone in a trailer on a bike

For me as of late, covering from an outsider’s point of view was starting to feel a little monotonous. A few weeks ago Greg mentioned to me that the next coming race is Gasparilla and so asked me; “Alan, would you be willing to participate in the race?” I told him not really because I can’t run that long. He said “I mean, would you mind if I pushed you through the race?” I thought to myself “Here’s an opportunity for a different perspective that I was looking for that I could capture in pictures, this is perfect!” So I said “Yes, I’ll do it.” Continue reading

Update about ‘International Triathlon Union (ITU): Remove the “Black Out Glasses” Rule for TRI6 Paratriathletes.’ on Change.org

***Sharing the email of Victory that was sent today from the petition on change.org***

Image a pair of black out glasses with the no symbol over them

They are GONE!

When we began this petition we wanted the voices of our community heard and heard you WERE! We never believed that in such a short period of time, we would see this change happen, but it has – because of YOU!

The ITU released this message today:

ITU would like to make you aware of recent updates to the 2013 ITU Competition Rules concerning changes to TRI-6 division of paratriathlon.

Following consultation with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC),the existing TRI-6 class will be divided into two categories for the 2013 season, as follows:

TRI-6a: For totally blind athletes (existing profile 36 and IBSA/IPC B1)

TRI-6b: For the balance of athletes with a visual impairment (current profiles 37a and 37b or IBSA/IPC B2 and B3) Continue reading

Tweet You Say? Building your Brand as a Para-Athlete by Jan Ditchfield

I recently did a group presentation on the “how” to develop a personalized brand as a para-athlete using social media. What I took from the opportunity was that we aren’t having enough conversations about the “why”; as in why it is so important to be online and to claim your brand from the onset. As a para-athlete, your brand will play a key factor in sponsorship endorsements, media opportunities and raising awareness of your sport outside of traditional market spaces. If you are not online, you need to be. Social media is a huge part in the development of your brand. Like it or not, it’s here to stay and the online community you create can be the defining factor in how you are known in the public eye. Continue reading

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”? NOT! (If you are Visually Impaired) by Diane Berberian

Image a pair of black out glasses with the no symbol over themFact: 44 years of participation in athletics and organized sports and I was already in college when the Title IX movement happened (women’s equality). Call me naive, but I did not imagine that this many years later I would be experiencing a new form of prejudice. I am Visually Impaired and I want to be included in the sport of triathlon!

So what is bothering me? I am visually impaired (legally blind) and I want to compete with my peers. However, to compete in a Paratriathlon Championship event, I will be asked to wear BLACK OUT GLASSES. When I refuse to wear the glasses, I am placed in a category called Open Physically Challenged. I want my name in the results and I want to know where I rank (even if last)! Continue reading

Asking for Help by Greg Simony

**Greg Simony is the Founder of Care2Tri; a USA based non-for-profit that assists children and adults with CP participate in triathlon by using adaptive equipment to race with**

Is asking for help something that is difficult for you? Do you feel that by asking others for things, it makes you weak?

This is something I have struggled with for years. I was taught, “If you want something done; just do it yourself”. As I grew into adulthood, I learned that this motto probably is the best way to live, as many people talk a good game, yet when it comes down to it they don’t back up what they say they’re going to do. It really didn’t make sense to me because when people asked me to do something, I was always there for them. I held this motto and believed it to be the absolute truth. I was right 100% of the time. Continue reading

Finding Hope in Haiti by Brian Cowie

Photo of Brian Cowie with his tandem and wearing a Canadain jersey

The Canadian Stoker

On November 30th of last year I received an email from Jan Ditchfield; friend, agent and President of PARA-Promotions, asking me if I would be interested in doing a race in Haiti. Seems a colleague of hers, Eric Miller, founder of the Rush-Miller Foundation (an organization that donates tandem bikes to visually impaired kids throughout the US and also internationally) was looking for a stoker who might be interested in this challenge. Haiti huh……sounds interesting. Never been to Haiti. Always looking for new places to race.

“Yah, I’m in. When is it?” Continue reading

Journey to Recover by John Young

Photo of John Young at the finish line of the marathon course.

Crossing the finish line at the Myles Standish Marathon

On November 18th, I did what I never thought I could when I completed my first marathon, the Myles Standish Marathon in Plymouth, MA.  The race was a quick replacement to the NYC Marathon that was cancelled 2 weeks earlier due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The race was an amazing experience and my race report can be found here.

Based on this race, I managed to qualify for the Boston Marathon as an AWAD runner.

When I started competing in triathlon 3 years ago, I never imagined I would be preparing for and then completing a 26.2 road race.  Contrary to what I was being told by MANY of my seasoned athletic friends, I chose to honor a commitment I made to run in the “Feaster Five” in Andover, MA on Thanksgiving Day (4 days after the marathon) and then in the Jolly Jaunt 5K in Danvers, MA  on the first weekend in December.  A friend of mine warned, his only injuries have occurred during very short races following LONG races. Continue reading

The Art of Advertising by Jan Ditchfield

(This blog post is personal. They are my real thoughts. Mine and mine alone.)

Advertising is the art of making whole lies out of half truths.  ~Edgar A. Shoaff

It stands to reason that coming out of a Paralympic year we’d see an increase in mainstream advertising using persons with disabilities in commercials and print campaigns. This year my feeds were inundated with spots, ads and conversations about equality and mainstream recognition. Working in the world of para, you tend to seek out examples of this and get lost in the belief that if you are seeing it, then everyone must be; positive examples of persons with disabilities. What we tend to forget is that we have knowledge of this industry and the community which the average viewer doesn’t. We’re actively seeking out this information instead of waiting for it to be presented to us. The average viewer isn’t doing the same. We have knowledge on the backgrounds of the talent who have been cast. The average viewer doesn’t. It’s the average viewer that mainstream advertising is targeting, not those of us who are already converted. And when you step outside of our circle and look at the use of persons with a disability in marketing campaigns from that vantage point, you are greeted with a shockingly different perspective. Continue reading

Equality; It’s Empowering by Leona Emberson

This summer I competed in my first season of triathlon. I was registered for my races. I picked up my race kit including my bibs, bike stickers and the appropriate swim cap for my category. Before the race I racked my bike and set up my transition area. After last minute pep talks, I headed to the start line. I swam, I biked, I ran, I finished the race. I received my finisher’s medal. I will even be receiving recognition for the top finisher for the season in my category.

Does this sound “normal” to you? If it does, then you are most likely not a Para Athlete. Continue reading

GIVE UP, GIVE IN, OR GIVE IT ALL YOU’VE GOT by Jan Ditchfield

(This blog post is personal. They are my real thoughts. Mine and mine alone.)

Image of Brian Cowie and Jan Ditchfield

With Brian Cowie at 70.3 Worlds in Clearwater 2010.

I have been asked a million times since I began working in my field why I do what I do and why as an able-bodied person I made my career advocating for persons with disabilities. I’ve answered it the same way a million times; “It’s not about me, so it doesn’t really matter why.”

I’ve stuck with that same line for almost ten years now, but more and more I have been thinking about the “why”. Not why I do it or why I started. But why I stay. Continue reading