Newton Running was in the national news recently when an amputee stole one of our shoes from a store in Belgium, but we’re much more proud of the fact that we were a Platinum Sponsor of the San Diego Triathlon Challenge last weekend, an event produced by the Challenged Athlete Foundation.
Here’s a terrific recap of the event from Neil Senturia, the CEO of the San Diego News Network, published originally on America’s Finest Sports Blog.
When the first swimmers came out of the water, some did not have legs, some did not have arms, some did not have hands, and some did not have feet. They were paraplegics, quadriplegics, young and old. What was once called disabled is now called challenged– but one thing was for absolutely positively sure. These were real athletes, and I was in tears.
Last Sunday was the 16th annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge — a 1.2 mile swim in La Jolla Cove, then a quick 56 miles on the bike up the coast, and then a leisurely jaunt of 13.1 miles up and down Torrey Pines hills. A nice way to spend anywhere from 4 ½ hours to seven hours — depending.
La Jolla Cove was packed with people, and the remarkable part was that it seemed like there were prosthetics everywhere on everyone. It was so amazingly normal. Here were lots of people at the Cove walking around, riding their bikes — except that it wasn’t normal — because as a society we do not really see so many challenged people in one place, acting so naturally, as if nothing had ever happened to them — except that we know it did. It is empowering to the athletes and ennobling to the rest of us to be part of something so much bigger than our little selves.
And there were the tears. When you see the challenges that these individuals have overcome, you are in awe, and you are hit in the gut. Because compared with these athletes, our daily complaints are like a small leaf blown off a tree — a nothing, a minor small random meaningless little leaf.
And so the question is: why does it take an event like this to remind us so viscerally about the value and the meaning of life, the blessings, the gratitude for health, and the simple acts of daily life that “the rest of us ” have been given and often take for granted?
Ironically of course, if you interview some of the challenged athletes, what you find is that they see themselves as triumphant. They are uplifted, they are indomitable, and they are the ones who give the rest of us the gift.
Don’t forget it!
Neil Senturia is the SDNN CEO.