SO HOW WOULD YOU CELEBRATE THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT THAT PUT YOU IN A WHEELCHAIR? BRIAN MARTIN, 43, FIGURED HE’D CELEBRATE IT ALONG WITH OVER 5,000 OTHER ATHLETES AT THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY CHALLENGE ROTH.
Af ter at tempting Ironman Canada (and missing the bike cut-off ) once and competing in a relay at Challenge Penticton, Martin felt like he was going to get his f irst f ull-distance f inish at Ironman Arizona. He was well on his way to achieving that goal when he got “taken out by a draft pack.”
“I’m so low to the ground, so when the first guy in the pack saw me, he was able to dodge out of the way, but the second and third people in the draft pack had their heads down and they ran me over, so I missed the bike cut-off at that one.”
Before his injury Martin was into dance and g ymnastics – hardly the activities that one would think would transfer to wheelchair endurance sports. After his injury he first took up alpine skiing, after that, wheelchair racing. Then he decided he wanted to get into the pool, so he learned to swim. Eventually handcycling came into the picture, so Martin decided to combine them all together.
“I did my first triathlon 10 years ago doing backstroke and zigzagging all the way through the swim,” Martin remembers, “But I finished it.”
Mar t i n competed at t he standard-distance world championships in Chicago last fall before gearing up his training for Challenge Roth.
He has three children – two boys, who are nine and 11, along with a five-year-old daughter – who are “his biggest supporters.”
Martin’s father, Andre, was on hand as his helper in Roth – just as he was for Martin’s first triathlon and as he will again at Challenge Penticton, where Martin hopes to qualify for the long-distance world championships next year.
“He’s been with me from start to finish in the sport, so it’s special to have him here.”
Martin’s race in Roth was a huge success. He made it across the line with a few minutes to spare before the cut-off time and was greeted at the finish line by Jan Frodeno, who earlier in the day had set a new world-best time.
A nice way to celebrate an anniversary, for sure.–