On Sunday, the annual Grandma’s Marathon was held in Duluth, MN, marking the 40th time that the race was ran along the coast of Lake Superior.
The day was hotter than many contestants wanted it to be, with humidity levels causing race officials to caution athletes on the dangers of heat stress, but that didn’t stop a record number of people from finishing the race.
Among the 7,400 competitors to finish were many wheelchair racers. They kicked off the race early in the morning, eager to win the coveted first place prize.
The Men’s Champion
James Senbeta, 29, of Champaign, IL (originally from Philadelphia), won the race with an incredible finishing time of 1:27:10, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Senbeta beat Spain’s Rafael Jimenez, who finished second for the third year in a row, by a full 30 seconds. He took the lead at the 22-mile mark and never looked back.
The win for Senbeta is a bit of a redemption story as the racer tore his trapezius muscle during last years’ Grandma’s Marathon race. He will now go on to try and qualify for the 2016 Paralympic games set to take place in Rio later this year.
The Women’s Champion
One the women’s side, the race was much more close. Brazil-native Aline Dos Santos Rocha narrowly beat fellow Brazilian countrywoman, Maria de Fatima Fonseca Chaves by only two seconds. Her winning time was 1:41:39.2.
Both racers qualified for the 2016 Paralympic games with their race times on Sunday.
Getting Involved in Wheelchair Racing
Do these race results motivate you to get into the sport?
The Paralympic website recommends that those looking to get involved in wheelchair racing should first get ahold of a racing chair that fits them well. From there, you can begin training and building your way up to your first race.
It’s not all about strength or endurance, but technique, as well. A racer with good technique uses less energy to propel his or her chair forward, thus becoming a faster competitor.
Do you have any interest of becoming a wheelchair racer? If not, do you play any other adaptive sports? Join the conversation by commenting below!