Ezra Frech competes during the Men's High Jump T63 Final on Day Eight of the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai on November 14, 2019.
Here’s a look at what’s been going on in the world of U.S. Para Track and Field for the last few weeks in the news and on social media…
Social Media Roundup
On the second weekend in October, Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk was indeed running a wheelchair marathon in Illinois.
But instead of racing past the Willis Tower and John Hancock Center, the only skyline Romanchuk had to look at was cornfields. With the 2020 Chicago Marathon canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Romanchuk decided to do his own virtual Chicago Marathon further south in central Illinois, closer to where he lives and trains in Champaign-Urbana.
“The weather is too beautiful to pass up, so I decided to do an official virtual Chicago Marathon tomorrow morning,” Romanchuk wrote on Instagram on Oct. 8. “Hoping to hit the start line about 7:15 a.m. here in central Illinois. Maybe I should call it the Combine Challenge — hoping to be off the roads before harvesting begins for the day!”
Romanchuk’s version of the marathon was quite a bit different than how a usual Chicago Marathon would go. It included a detour of speaking to a schoolhouse of Amish children after an Amish family saw Romanchuk racing and flagged down his support vehicle, thinking his story would be an inspirational one for kids to hear.
Romanchuk did eventually complete the 26.2 miles, a marathon unlike any other, adding: “Can't wait to be back in person next year!”
To help young girls around the world find and honor the heroes that inspire them, the World Woman Foundation introduced World Woman Hour. Launched on Oct. 11 to celebrate International Day of the Girl, the World Woman Hour featured the stories of 60 women, each talking for 60 seconds about the women that inspired them.
One of the women featured was seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Tatyana McFadden. McFadden spoke about the two women who would become her moms, adopting her from a Russian orphanage and bringing her to the United States. McFadden began racing shortly thereafter, becoming one of the most decorated U.S. Para track and field athletes ever.
World Woman Hour is available to stream on Facebook.
To get kids around the world active while stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Paralympic Committee is holding the 2020 World Virtual Youth Festival. Kids under 18 can enter by filming themselves exercising between Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, and then a panel of judges will determine who moves on to the online finals in November.
Fifteen-year-old Ezra Frech would qualify to enter, but he’s already a world junior champion. Frech instead will serve as one of seven judges, made up of Para athletes, leaders, and advocates.
“Really honored to be a judge for the world youth festival,” Frech wrote on Instagram, “everyone take a video of yourself working out at home and join the movement.”
That wasn’t the only notable social media appearance recently for Frech, who also has medals in high jump and long jump from the 2019 Parapan American Games. U.S. Para Track and Field featured him in a post doing hurdles without his prosthetic leg, easily clearing each one.
In the News
Paralympian Scout Bassett will be one of the featured athletes at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports. Bassett will be joined by fellow Team USA Olympians and Paralympians like Alana Nichols, Meghan Duggan and Carli Lloyd at the annual celebration of women in sports.
Bassett is a 2016 Paralympian, finishing fifth in the 100-meter and 10th in long jump. She competed in the same events at the 2017 world championships, winning bronze medals in both. She won the gold medal at the 2019 Parapan American Games in long jump.
The salute takes place Wednesday Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. EDT and will be available to stream for free online through Yahoo Sports.
Paralympic hopeful Aubrey Headon set an unofficial world record of 2.8 meters in the long jump T35 classification in the Texas vs. World track meet in Marble Falls, Texas, October 3-4. The official world record stands at 2.66 meters, set in 2017 by Australia’s Holly Saunders. Headon, a native of Rochelle, Illinois, is currently on the track team at Carroll University in Texas. … Just two U.S. wheelchair racers took part in the 2020 London Marathon on Oct. 4, with Jenna Fesemyer taking third in the women’s race and James Senbeta finishing ninth in the men’s.