Sharing the thrill of triathlon
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.