Shar­ing the thrill of triathlon

Hastings Leader - - News -

When Triathlon HB gen­eral man­ager Bruce Richard­son laces up his run­ning shoes on Satur­day to do the run leg of the renowned Hawke’s Bay Iron Maori event, he won’t be aim­ing for a PB, but rather to share the thrill of triathlon with Bradley McCann, a lively 25-year-old born with cere­bral palsy.

Bradley lives at Rowan, an En­liven res­i­den­tial dis­abil­ity ser­vice for un­der 65-year-olds man­aged by Pres­by­te­rian Sup­port East Coast (PSEC). Bruce has got to know him and the other 21 “flat­ters” through his wife, Ngaia, vol­un­teer man­ager at PSEC, and de­cided to share his pas­sion of triathlon with Bradley by push­ing him in a hi-tech wheel­chair for the run leg of the Olympic-dis­tance triathlon. Bruce is also rais­ing money for the ser­vice, to en­able peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties to ful­fil their goals and dreams and live ex­tra­or­di­nary lives.

“Since meeting the flat­ters at Rowan through var­i­ous PSEC events, it opened my eyes to a dif­fer­ent way of life,” Bruce says. “These peo­ple are so full of en­ergy and love par­tic­i­pat­ing in things just as much as ‘able bod­ied’ peo­ple, but un­for­tu­nately they don’t al­ways get the op­por­tu­nity. Many peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties ob­tained them later in life — from ac­ci­dents or de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases like mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis — so they are deal­ing with the frus­tra­tion of not be­ing able to do what they used to.”

Bruce and Bradley don’t have a strict train­ing regime as they fit it around fam­ily and other life com­mit­ments. How­ever, on their train­ing runs they have be­come great mates, and Bruce says Bradley is a great mo­ti­va­tor, yelling “run, run, run” dur­ing their prac­tices and loves go­ing fast.

“His com­mu­ni­ca­tion and move­ment is lim­ited but if some­one is in our way he yells ‘move!’

“The wheel­chair is more like a hi-tech adult moun­tain buggy, if I lean on the han­dles too much it wants to tip back­wards so I have to al­most hold the han­dles up when I’m run­ning. Bradley’s safety is my pri­or­ity, so I’ve been work­ing with the amaz­ing Iron Maori or­gan­is­ers to en­sure we mit­i­gate any risks.”

Bradley’s mum, Pam, says he is ex­cited to be par­tic­i­pat­ing in Iron Maori/

“He loves to be part of wider com­mu­nity events,” Pam says.

“His dis­abil­ity does not de­fine him and his de­sire to par­tic­i­pate in main­stream ac­tiv­i­ties that chal­lenge him are most im­por­tant to him. He is proud to be rep­re­sent­ing his friends at Rowan and knows they will all be cheer­ing from the side­lines.”

Rowan is based in Taradale and caters for 22 res­i­dents across three houses and two cot­tages. Their aim is to fos­ter adult choice, re­spon­si­bil­ity and in­de­pen­dence that en­hances es­teem/mana.

“I know what a dif­fer­ence this is mak­ing to Bradley be­cause each time I see him he grabs my hand and rubs it against his face to thank me — you can’t put a price on that feel­ing! It would be awe­some if we could help more peo­ple like Bradley par­tic­i­pate in events like this.” Bruce says.

■ To fol­low Bruce and Bradley’s jour­ney or do­nate to En­liven Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices please see their Givealit­tle page called Bradley and Bruce’s Blitz — IronMaori here we come!

Bruce Richard­son and Bradley McCann will be com­pet­ing in the up­com­ing HB Iron Maori event.

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