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  • Wheelchair prep district

    In Oregon yesterday they allowed a wheelchair athlete to "win" one of the 4A district meets that qualify athletes to the state meet. The OSAA had ruled prior to the race the athlete could not advance to the state meet yet the league still let the athlete compete and "beat" everyone running the course on foot. The course, 80% asphalt, thats another tragic story considering the park and its Oregon, was conducive to this athlete winning the race. In other meets during the year he rarely broke 19 minutes when on grass. My question is, has this occured else where and what are others thoughts? Totally unfair to the athletes on foot in my opinion.

  • #2
    Re: Wheelchair prep district

    He didn't advance so what's the problem?

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    • #3
      Re: Wheelchair prep district

      The problem is he denied an able bodied runner the opportunity to win. The record books will forever show that he competed and won. That would be like allowing a wheelchair athlete in the 10k at the Olympic Trials but saying he can't go to the Olympics. Hollenbeck wheeled his way to a WR 20:38 for 10k on the roads in 92. Is that fair against even the world's best runners???

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      • #4
        Re: Wheelchair prep district

        Any race that's contested on "80% asphalt" and doesn't include a steep uphill, some mud and an obstacle or two doesn't qualify as cross country to begin with.

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        • #5
          Re: Wheelchair prep district

          "In other meets during the year he rarely broke 19 minutes when on grass."

          This kid did 19 minutes over a cross country course in a wheelchair? 5k? Through grass?

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          • #6
            Re: Wheelchair prep district

            Yes, that is unfair.

            The wheelchair is a separate event. XC is for running.

            Serious wheelchair racers are phenomenal athletes and should be recognized as such, but they are not XC runners.

            On a tangent, I have thought it would be very positive for wheelchair racing if able-bodied individuals were to become involved in wheelchair racing. NO JOKE -I have a friend (ex. D1 national rings champion) who can't run worth a hoot but has a great body for wheeling.

            Allowing able-bodied athletes to wheel would lend further legitamacy to the sport and would allow it to be seen as a true sport not just something that is done by those with disabilities.

            This would need to be promoted to erase negative stigma. But the new racing chairs are so trick that they are almost a hybrid between a wheelchair and racing bike.

            I am so impressed by what these guys can do in their chairs that I would like to see them given more credit for their efforts and seen as the true athletes they are.

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            • #7
              Re: Wheelchair prep district

              On the point that it is not xc you are correct. One coach in the league has worked to change it away from road running to xc but the other coaches have resisted. It does include a couple hills and some bark dust but the only grass is at the start for 200 meters and at the finish for 100 meters. The 19 minute time over grass the wheelchair kid did was over hard packed dirt trails, some hard dusty grass and asphalt. He was 21:40 over deep thick grass and bark dust.

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              • #8
                Re: Wheelchair prep district

                valleyrunner7

                <The 19 minute time over grass the wheelchair kid did was over hard packed dirt trails, some hard dusty grass and asphalt. He was 21:40 over deep thick grass and bark dust.>

                I give the kid credit - I'd hire him tommorrow to come work for me because he obviously has a tenacity most lack. Given his challenges, to have the balls to go out for cross-country is awesome. What harm did it really cause if he won? He didn't displace anyone from advancing, and rather than complaining just try to beat him.

                I graduated college with a guy who was a wheelchair racer and for several years after we butted heads in road races. I would run 31-32 10k and he would always beat me by a few seconds - ticked me off to lose but he trained his butt off and took home the trophy.

                Rather than look at the negatives of the kid winning look at the positives. He has no other avenue for competition (no wheel chair High School teams I'm aware of) and he obviously has a passion for the sport.

                Your gripe shouldn't be with the guy winning - he earned it. Your gripe should be with running cross country courses on the roads. Something tells me the kid wouldn't have cared if he finished 30th or first - he probably just wanted to get out there and bust ass with the rest of you.

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