Leading the way to accessible sport, one race at a time
“We are not disabled, our environment is, as it's that which puts barriers in front of us." Mike Greer, Ambassador, Waterloo Marathon
By Mike Greer, Accessibility and Adaptive Sport Advocate, Blood, Sweat & Wheels
If you had asked me 8 years ago when I did my first 5k race, if I would ever want to do another one, let alone get into the sport itself, I would have more than likely said no. I did my first 5K, (Toronto Scotiabank 5K) without any training. It took me over an hour to complete it, and I thought then it was a one and done thing.
Over the years, things changed, and I started doing 5K’s, then adding 10K’s and recently Half-Marathons. During that time I have met some great fellow Adaptive Racers, who have helped me and in turn, I’ve been able to impart knowledge to others around the world of adaptive racing.
2017 DarkSide Challenge
I use a #FreeWheel attachment for my wheelchair, which is a great point of entry into adaptive racing. The cost of a racing wheelchair or handcycle can be quite expensive! I always said that I wouldn’t attempt a Marathon until I moved up to a racing chair, but in 2017 things changed and in 2018 I started training for the 2019 Dopey Challenge.
5 km Dopey Challenge Finish
The road to the Run Disney Dopey Challenge
If asked would I have ever considered signing up for Run Disney’s Dopey Challenge, I would have called you crazy. I would have said “no way would I be willing to put my body and mind through: 4 Races in 4 Days – 48.6 Miles: 5K, 10K, ½ & Full Marathon”
training, hard work, and more training
The #RoadToDopey was long and full of many days on the road, track, and gym. I completed over 140 activities last year, consisting of 780 km of wheelchair roadwork, and 1,400 km on the recumbent bike, plus countless strength, and core exercises. This journey hasn’t been without setbacks, but I didn’t let those things stop me, I continued to stay focused and kept a positive frame of mind.
Mike Greer at the Army Run
positive thinking and determination
For those who have never done a RunDisney event before, there is nothing as exciting as getting to race inside the parks and resorts, hearing all the crowds cheering you on. Over the 4 days, I was tested and thought a few times, I wasn’t going to finish. The last KM of the last race, my emotions were read to break. I was going to do it; I was going to complete not only my first Marathon, but the #DopeyChallenge - 48.6 Miles over 4 days! I gave it everything I had, the crowds in the stands yelling to go go go!
I did it! I had done something that only a year earlier was a thought in my mind, and before that was something I never thought I would want to ever attempt. Through all my racing, has been my wife, who has been my rock. She sent me a text when I was out on the course that said:
“You got this. You’ve done a marathon already, this is just making it official. What you do today, only about 1% of 7 billion people will ever do”.
Her words are going to stay with me forever, on what I accomplished. I have so much respect for anyone who completes a marathon, let alone completes the #DopeyChallenge.
I did it!
we are not disabled, our environment is
I sent a note to my Adaptive Sports group after the race:
“We are not disabled, our environment is, as it's that which puts barriers in front of us.
Keep on smashing those barriers and never lose your voice as being champions of change. If we are "Inspirational" for others, get them to be inspired to effect change. "
Adaptive Sport Group
Next Challenge - Ed Whitlock Half at the waterloo Marathon
After a well-deserved break to let my body heal, I am back to training for the Waterloo Marathon Ed Whitlock Half in April, the ArmyRun Commanders Challenge in September and who knows what else.
Mike Greer, Blood, Sweat & Wheels
Waterloo Marathon Accessibility Ambassador
The Waterloo Marathon & Ed Whitlock Half Marathon are the main fundraising events for St. John Ambulance, Kitchener-Waterloo Branch