U.S. Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk trains on the road near his home on May 13, 2020 in Mount Airy, Maryland.
Here’s a look at what’s been going on in the world of U.S. Para Track and Field for the last two weeks in the news and on social media…
Social Media Roundup
Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk would certainly prefer to have his marathons be of the non-virtual variety, but he sure is getting the hang of it, so much so that he set a record.
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I just couldn't do it. The beginning of October without a @chimarathon ?? The weather is too beautiful to pass up, so I decided to do an official virtual Chicago Marathon tomorrow morning! 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!🚜🌽 Hope you are planning to do something you love this weekend, too. Have fun! #MyChicagoMarathon #abbottwmm
After doing a virtual Chicago Marathon earlier this month, Romanchuk again took to the roads near his home of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, this time to try and replicate the New York City Marathon. Save for a horse and buggy reminiscent of Central Park — though in this case one belonging to an Amish family — the corn and soybean fields didn’t much resemble the streets of New York City.
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Yesterday's virtual @nycmarathon started out with a little taste of Central Park at the start line! After that I had to use my imagination, as the harvested corn and soybean fields took over... Thought for the day: Normally my sister, who's an ER nurse in NYC, is there to give me an "annoying" big sister hug and kiss at the finish line. I never knew how much I'd miss that. Thanks to @nyrr and all the other race organizations who are giving us ways to stay motivated and healthy during these times. I can't wait to get that hug and kiss in person again next year! #TCSNYCMarathon #NYRRVolvoVirtualRacing #NYRR #abbottwmm #wheelchairracing #SpinaBifida #topendwheelchair #ClifBar #Abbott
But the 26.2 miles were still the same, and Romanchuk did them faster than anyone, setting an unofficial world record time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 57 seconds. The official record belongs to Heinz Frei of Switzerland, clocking in at 1:20:57 in 1999. Because Romanchuk’s record came in a virtual race, it isn’t eligible for the world record, but remains an impressive personal achievement, nonetheless.
Romanchuk was not alone in running a virtual NYC marathon. Seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Tatyana McFadden did the same, posting a couple videos of herself tackling the challenging course.
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Another virtual marathon in the books that I raced yesterday but this time it was the @nycmarathon 😄. I sure do miss in person racing but this is a great way to set goals and to keep your goals in mind. I decided to make this course challenging with roughly just over 1,200 vertical gain in climbing 💪🏼 Remember the challenges that we face this year we can face together...running unites us even virtually ❤️
“I sure do miss in person racing but this is a great way to set goals and to keep your goals in mind,” McFadden wrote. “… Remember the challenges that we face this year we can face together...running unites us even virtually.”
Paralympic medalist Lex Gillette celebrated his 36th birthday on Oct. 19, and of course he did it, “J’d up like always.” Gillette was sporting a pair of Air Jordan sneakers in the post from his collection of 40-plus pairs. No word yet on if Gillette has found a pair of long-jump spikes from Jordan Brand, a dream he expressed to TeamUSA.org when talking about his collection back in May.
Like many athletes and non-athletes alike on social media over the past couple weeks, Ezra Frech made a post showing “how it started” and “how it’s going,” showing the start and current state of his career. The long jumper has come a long way in six years from the little kid in the first photo to the world junior champion of today.
In The News
Scout Bassett was one of the featured athletes at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports that took place on Oct. 14. The Paralympian was joined by others from Team USA such as Oksana Masters and Alana Nichols, who spoke about the importance of equality and opportunity for adaptive sport athletes in the future.
“People are largely unaware of so many of the struggles that people with disabilities face,” Bassett said. “… Ableism really projects these ideas of whose bodies are valuable, and desirable, and important. We have to change the narrative of how we see people with disabilities.”
A replay of the Annual Salute is available to stream on the WSF site.
Paralympic Team qualifier Noelle Lambert’s Born to Run Foundation will award its 10th prosthetic device on Nov. 5. Lambert established Born to Run to provide athletes in need with specialized prosthetic devices.
The brand-new U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum was featured in the New York Times on Oct. 21, highlighting the prosthetic leg on display of John Register, long jump silver medalist in 2000.
Pam McGonigle, gold medalist in the 3,000-meter at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, was profiled by WPVI-TV out of Philadelphia. She is now the director of communications for the Overlook School of the Blind in Philadelphia.
TeamUSA.org is taking a look back at the Paralympic Games Sydney 2000, which were a transformative event in the history of the Paralympic Movement. Included in these retrospectives was a look at the history of Paralympic classification since the Games, and a look back at the final Paralympic Games in the decorated career of wheelchair racer Jean Driscoll.
TeamUSA.org has launched a campaign called Olympians and Paralympians Made Here to celebrate the role collegiate athletics plays in developing Team USA stars. Among the many athletes participating was discus thrower Jessica Heims, who attends Northern Iowa.