Special competitors cross finish line first: I am ABLE: Run, Rock, n’ Roll; STGnews Photo Gallery

L - Amber Graves, off and running; R - Tyler Bundy, crosses the finish line.“I am ABLE Run, Walk ‘n Roll” race in companion to the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo by Jeremy Crawford, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – As athletes prepared to launch at the St George Marathon this morning, another group of athletes gathered at 7 a.m. in the parking lot across from the St. George Children’s Museum. These athletes were taking part in the first ever “I am ABLE: Run, Walk ‘n Roll” race in companion to the marathon.

Carla and Austin Frampton. “I am ABLE Run, Walk ‘n Roll” race in companion to the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo by Jeremy Crawford, St. George News
Carla and Austin Frampton dancing before the race.

Sponsored by 1 Law and the City of St George, this event was designed to give those with disabilities and special needs people of all ages, the chance to compete and feel the thrill of running with the St George Marathon. They would cover a distance of either 260 meters or three-fourths of a mile on foot, on wheels, being pushed and in at least one case in part on shoulders. Each participant was also required to have one person without disabilities accompany them from the start of their event to the finish line.

Before the race began, those present could feel the excitement in the air, the Stephen Wade trailer was blasting music and some participants danced to it. Others gave the Kia hamster mascot a “high five” while some ran from the hamster.

Runner Gabe said of the early morning, “it’s way too early,” and of his competitor: “Amber Graves told me she planned to run fast and win a medal.”

Center: Justin Tuft. Tuft was a former St. George Marathon competitor but, due to a motorcycle accident has been paralyzed and can no longer run. The  “I am ABLE Run, Walk ‘n Roll” race gave him the chance to experience victory again, crossing that St. George Marathon finish line. St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo by Jeremy Crawford, St. George News
Center: Justin Tuft.

Justin Tuft competed in “I am ABLE” showing that despite a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed, he could still cross the finish line. Tuft has competed in the St. George Marathon in years past.

As the start grew near, the competitors gathered for directions. Volunteers from the Dixie State University Rugby team held balloons to help pace and guide the way through the race, and just like that, they were off.

The runners attacked the course with all the heart and soul of any conditioned athlete, many ran at a dead-sprint and others rolled the wheels on their chairs with a pace that would keep any one short of breath. One such competitor on wheels was Robby Pendleton who said the race was shorter than he had expected but he was glad for it.

As the race neared the halfway point some would tire and require the help of their buddy runner. As one younger participant climbed up on his dad’s shoulders he shouted: “Run Dad, run.”

As the pack neared the finish line, many got a renewed sense of energy and began that dead-sprint again for the glory of crossing the St George Marathon finish line and being rewarded with their own special medal.

Race organizer Michele Graves said they had roughly 50 participants; along with buddy runners and other volunteers, I am ABLE saw total participation of well over 150 people. Like the marathoners, these racers were given a special finisher medallion, T-shirt, bib number. At the end, they joined those finishing the Mayor’s Walk for breakfast.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

L - Amber Graves, off and running; R - Tyler Bundy, crosses the finish line.“I am ABLE Run, Walk ‘n Roll” race in companion to the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo by Jeremy Crawford, St. George News
L – Amber Graves, off and running; R – Tyler Bundy, crosses the finish line.“I am ABLE Run, Walk ‘n Roll” race in companion to the St. George Marathon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2013 | Photo by Jeremy Crawford, St. George News

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2 Comments

  • Kathy October 6, 2013 at 7:09 am

    You have one of your pictures naming Jay Dundy (the picture above Tyler Bundy’s). The boy’s name is Jay Bundy.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic October 6, 2013 at 7:27 am

      Thank you, Kathy – our apologies, correcting that now.

      Joyce
      EIC

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