For the first time ever, there will be a stand-alone wheelchair division in the Monument 10k. Here’s how middle schooler Colin Eagan, one of the participants in the event, got involved.
This is what Brookland Middle School student Colin Eagan, 14, has on his mind: “Get out there and see what I can do.” What Colin is referring to is the Wheelchair Division of the upcoming Monument 10k.
For the first time in the event’s twelve year history, there will be an official division for wheelchair racers1, and they will complete the same 6.2-mile course as the other 10k runners. Colin, however, is no stranger to intense physical activity.
Richmonders living with a disability
- 33,000 people live with a disability
- Only 12,000 are employed
- 22,000 live in poverty
- 2.5 time more likely to be obese
- Disabled children are more likely to suffer form depression
Living in Richmond his entire life, Colin has needed the assistance of crutches and a wheelchair for the significant majority of his life. A little over two years ago, Colin underwent surgery to help “stabilize” his legs. Afterwards, a physical therapist at Children’s Hospital of Richmond told Colin about a basketball league put on by Sportable, a local organization that provide sports-related activities for those with physical disabilities. Colin gave it a go, and “was hooked” immediately. His participation not only provided him an outlet, but it provided Sportable with a unique asset.
His involvement gave the local organization the right number of players it needed to create an official league. “We got to play our first tournament” shortly thereafter, said Colin. The team has played at other locations in the state, as well as in North Carolina and Baltimore.
About one month ago, Sportable contacted Colin to see if he was interested in participating in the 10k’s new Wheelchair Division. He agreed. He wanted “to try something new.” Sportable has held specific training programs at Sports Backers Stadium to prepare racers for the event. “I try to get out as much as I can,” said Colin about his training regiment along with that of Sportable’s support.
Colin recently participated in the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. “It was kind of hard at first,” he said, although he is both confident and excited to race the Monument 10k.
Like the other participants in his division, Colin will use a unique racing wheelchair. Unlike typical manually-powered wheelchairs that have two large rear wheels and two smaller front ones, the racing wheelchair is tricyclic: one wheel in the front and two wheels on each side. Colin said that these wheelchairs require “more arm strength” than typical wheelchairs, which is likely counter to what others expect from a wheelchair specifically-designed for racing. This, however, hasn’t dissuaded Colin, as he’s already anticipating what he would like to do after Monument 10k.
“I kind of want to try tennis,” he said, alluding to his more immediate athletic plans. Even though he still has high school to attend, Colin said that his long-term plan is to earn a basketball scholarship so that he can attend college. When told that his enthusiasm might be lacking in others with a physical disability and who are hesitant to become active as a result, Colin urged they reconsider. “Don’t ever give up,” he said. “Try new things.”
The Ukrop’s Monument 10k will take place on Saturday, March 31st.
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- The Monument 10k has always allowed wheelchairs in the event, just no handcycles/crankcyles. Entrants in a wheelchair who wish to be pushed by another will also be able to participate, albeit in a separate wave. ↩