Field Complete for Inaugural Wheelchair Category at Marathon
Field Complete for Inaugural Wheelchair Category at ASB Auckland Marathon
The inaugural wheelchair race at the ASB Auckland Marathon includes a who’s who of the country’s leading male and female wheelchair athletes, with multiple Paralympic and World Championship medals in amongst a stellar group set to make history as they race from Devonport, over the Harbour Bridge to the finish line at Victoria Park on October 28.
The October 28 event is the largest in the country, with over 15,000 competitors expected to line up in a variety of events, with the wheelchair category added for the first time in the events history over the current course featuring the Bridge crossing.
The race is a pilot event this year, with all competitors invited to take part by the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and Achilles New Zealand.
Dave MacCalman is pleased at the introduction of the event for all sorts of reasons. One of New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympians, MacCalman is competing in the event, but has also worked closely with organisers in his role as Senior Advisor to the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the response from the top New Zealand wheelchair marathon athletes to support the ASB Auckland Marathon pilot group. We also welcome the two Australian athletes. I know the athletes will display their immense talents and racing knowledge during the event. This event will be a milestone for wheelchair marathons in New Zealand.”
Amongst those to line up on the 28th is 2003 New Zealand Football Referee of the Year Ian Walker (Christchurch). Since suffering a serious spinal injury as a result of a crash while out cycling, the Cantabrian is these days a passionate hand cyclist, having competed twice at the New York marathon, he says the inclusion of a wheelchair category at the ASB Auckland Marathon can inspire many.
“There aren’t many marathons in New Zealand that cater for wheelchair athletes, especially handcycles. So, for us ‘wheelies’ to compete in such an iconic event as the ASB Auckland Marathon is brilliant news, as it showcases inclusivity, that we are no different than other athletes. It also reinforces the idea that wheelchair users can and should be involved in mainstream events within the community.
“For me, to be given another opportunity to compete in New Zealand is absolutely huge. As someone with a beat up and broken 56-year-old body I know I’m unlikely to win many events, but what I can guarantee is that I’ll train hard and give the event my best bloody shot!”
Tiffiney Perry (Hamilton) is one of the leading contenders in the women’s race, having already shown her class in winning the hand cycle women’s race at the New York marathon.
With a distinguished career behind her in various sports at Paralympic level, she too can’t wait for the chance to race in Auckland and is undaunted by the prospect of going up and over the Harbour Bridge.
“I look forward to the Auckland Marathon as it will replace the New York Marathon for me this year. I can’t wait to cycle over the Harbour Bridge and compete in an event in my own country. Bridges shouldn’t be too much of a problem if New York is anything to remember. I think it will be gradual enough for me!”
Gavin Foulsham (Havelock North) is another with star billing ready to race in Auckland, the multiple Paralympic star is these days chasing a spot in the rowing team at the 2019
“The highlight of my career was the Sydney Marathon and Anzac Bridge, so I am really looking forward to crossing the Harbour Bridge. Climbing will just be about finding a rhythm and getting on with it, but the descent, that will be something else. The fastest I have been is 83kph at the Whangarei Marathon, but I think 60 to 70kph will be possible here. Safety first of course, but I am never keen to touch brakes in a race!”
Former New Zealand equestrian star Catriona Williams is also lining up, as much for the challenge as to promote one of the event’s official charities, one that she helped found, the Catwalk Trust.
“One of my all-time highlights was racing in New York in 2010, it was just the best thing I have ever done in my life! I went with 25 able bodied friends and raised over $250,000 for CatWalk and SCI research and everyone completed – including an injured Mark Todd.
“The more inclusive any event is the better, for some it’s about competition but for me it’s about participation and having a physical goal. We have to work really hard at keeping our bodies healthy for day to day living and it’s always great to have an added reason to amp it up a bit.
“Plus, I can’t wait to cheer our inspirational Catwalk Trust Board Member, Professor Louise Nicholson over the line, she is an absolute inspiration to us all and a hero to me personally.”
The wheelchair athletes will make for a spectacular sight as they go up and over the Harbour Bridge towards the finish line. They are the first to start on the morning of the 28th, with the gun going at 5:58am at King Edward Parade, with the first finishers expected across the line at Victoria Park not long after 7:30am.
They will be part of a record breaking 15,000 plus participants across the five race distances.
ASB Auckland Marathon
Entries at www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz
Sunday, October 28, 2018
ASB Auckland Marathon (including Wheelchair event) | Barfoot & Thompson Half Marathon | John West 12km Traverse | 5km Challenge | Barfoot & Thompson Kids Marathon
CLICK HERE for course overview and information
Competitors in the ASB Auckland Marathon Wheelchair Race
All are available for further interviews and comment, contact Andrew Dewhurst for more information
Booth, 44 years old, Hamilton
Phil Booth is a Master’s student and innovator at Wintec's Centre for Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CeTRI). At 22 he broke his neck playing rugby, leaving him a C5/C6 tetraplegic with no feeling at all from his shoulders down and no hand function. Rehabilitation became the focus of his life. His first big goal, which seemed simple, to push a manual chair from the lino onto the lounge carpet, took 12 months of training with Alistair Richardson at Les Mills to achieve. Equipped with skills and knowledge from life experiences, Phil recently completed his Postgraduate Certificate and is now embarking on a Master’s degree in Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation. His project centres around solving beach accessibility for people with limited mobility and wheelchair users. With a family of his own, a wife and two young daughters (and a third on the way which may yet complicate his participation!), Phil’s Masters focus is working on a prototype wheelchair which allows a disabled person to interact with their family on a quintessential Kiwi day at the beach. Phil once famously pushed his wheelchair for a 1/2 marathon celebrating 100 years of World War I... 21kms along the Western Front to the City of Ypres (ieper) in honour of legendary All Black captain Dave Gallaher who died in battle during WW1.
Jack Brown, Inglewood
Taranaki dairy farmer Jack has been confined to a wheelchair since a crash in September 2015. He immediately turned to wheelchair sport and has tried his luck in a few and was named Personality of the Games and Most Promising wheelchair basketball player at the 2016 Halberg Junior Disability Games.
Dan Buckingham, Auckland
Dan is a decorated parathlete, representing New Zealand’s Wheel Blacks basketball team for 16 years, attending two Paralympics (Beijing and Athens), winning the gold at Athens. He competed in the New York Marathon in 2017 and broke the New Zealand record for the T52 class in the half marathon in 2018. The ASB Auckland event will be his second full marathon. Dan’s fiancée is running the Barfoot & Thompson Half, which is helping motivate him to take on his own race over the bridge. Dan is raising money and awareness for one of the event’s charities, the Catwalk Trust.
Neil Cudby, Tauranga
Successful Papamoa businessman and family man Neil Cudby was paralysed playing rugby in the 1990’s and has since gone on to achieve amazing success in sport and business. He is famous for hand cycling 1000km through the Himalayan Ranges for charity. In June 2013, he joined two other "wheelies" who handcycled from Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, to Kathmandu, Nepal in 28 days. They were part of a cycling group of 14 who raised $600,000 for the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust. Cudby is also a former Chairman of Parafed Bay of Plenty.
Gavin Foulsham, Havelock North
Gavin is a decorated New Zealand Paralympian, competing in Barcelona and Sydney as a Wheelchair racer, and has attended five World Championships. He also represented New Zealand in Wheelchair Basketball and Rowing and is aiming for the 2019 World Rowing Champs in the PR2 class. He has over 25 marathons to his considerable CV and can’t wait to race over the Bridge where he says speeds approach 60 to 70kph are likely.
Kevin Gaides, Australia
Kevin will race in the hand cyclist category at the ASB Auckland Marathon. Previously a sprinter in wheelchair racing and was a world class para athlete. Retired in 2009 and went cold turkey before taking up handcycling for fitness but soon couldn’t resist and was back racing again. For the past fouir years has been a part time agthlete, completing four marathons in Canada and USA, and have done time trials and road races at the Australian and Canadian National Championships. In 2016 (Canada) and 2017 (Australia and Canada) Kevin competed in the National champs and faired quite well without any coach or assistance in training. Kevin is looking forward to competing in Auckland as it will be his first time as a para athlete in New Zealand, last competing here 28 years ago as a ‘running sprinter’ leading up to the Commonwealth Games in 1990. Gaides lives in Newcastle, NSW, Aus and works full time as an Occupational Therapist in Neurological disorders.
Chris Hanley, Auckland
Chris has been in a wheelchair since a motorcycle accident at age 17. The 47-year-old Aucklander is a Director at Action Mobility Auckland.
47-year-old Brad was paralysed during a rugby game in the United States in 1993. He played wheelchair rugby for 15 years, travelling extensively throughout New Zealand and overseas inspiring others with similar injuries to live active lives. The Kapiti Coaster has for the past 14 years run his own company (back on the Coast), 360 Degree Homes, creating products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible.
Dave MaCalman, MNZM, Katikati
Dave and his family have lived at Waihi Beach for 30 years on their avocado lifestyle block. He has had a passion for sport since a young boy growing up in Rotorua.
Dave’s first sport was basketball. He played for Wellington in the New Zealand national league before joining the Brisbane Bullets in the Australian NBL. Dave played in the very first ANBL game in 1979. He was on a basketball scholarship in California when he broke his neck diving into a shallow river, since then he has forged a sporting career as basketball coach, wheelchair racer and as a four-time Paralympian.
Dave captained the 1992 New Zealand Paralympian team to Barcelona and held world records in quadriplegic pentathlon, javelin and shotput. He won gold medals in pentathlon and javelin in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.
In 2001, Dave became a member of the Order of Merit for his services to disabled sport (wheelchair basketball). He completed his first New York Marathon with the Achilles NZ in 1994, finishing second in the push-rim wheelchair section. He also completed other marathon such as Honolulu, Los Angles and Auckland. Dave now rides a clip on-hand cycle and several years ago rode with his daughter from the French Alpes to the French Riviera (600km’s). Dave works full-time as a disability sports advisor for Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and several years ago received the world’s first pair of Robotic legs built and invented in New Zealand.
52-year-old Rob Martin has packed plenty into his lifetime, with much of that since he lost his leg in a motorcycle crash 33 years ago. He has completed the New York marathon as a hand cyclist (best finish of second) and on a ‘blade’ when running the event in 2014. He has paddled Cook Straight with Olympic legend Ian Ferguson and set a Guinnes world distance record for pushing a hand cycle across the Southern Alps and has represented New Zealand in wheelchair basketball.
46-year-old McGregor is an experienced wheelchair racer, having competed at the Gold Coast event for the past 21 years, six of those in the full marathon distance.
Tiffiney Perry, Hamilton
Perry is 49, married with two children (Emma 22, Jack 17) and has been in a wheelchair for 25 years, the result of a water ski racing accident at Clarkes Beach, Waiuku. Perry’s husband is also in a wheelchair and is a quadriplegic. Perry competed for New Zealand in wheelchair tennis and was ranked 29 in the world when attending the 2004 Paralympics. She has since competed in three World Championships and various World Cups with Paracycling, with a high finish of 7th in the world. Perry has attended New York marathon in 2016 and 17, winning the women’s handcycle division in a sub two-hour time, and hopes to go under that magical mark in Auckland. Perry also organizes regional paracycling events near her home and enjoys wheelchair tennis and basketball. Tiffiney also serves on various trusts including family run Brian Perry Charitable Trust and Life Unlimited Trust. Perry also finds time to act as chairperson of Parafed Waikato, a not for profit sport and recreation organization for physically disabled and visually impaired – an organization that recently turned 50 with Perry and her husband awarded life membership.
Sue Reid, Papamoa
Reid is making the ASB Auckland Marathon a family affair, with daughter Melissa taking part in the Barfoot & Thompson Half marathon. Reid was a member of the NZ Paracycling team from 2010- 2015 before retiring, winning a bronze medal at the 2010 and 2011 World Champs (Canada and Denmark). Reid also won several medals in World Cup events and finished 4th at the 2012 London Paralympics.
Reid hasn’t been on a bike for almost 4 years and has just started recreationally riding a few months ago and will be doing the marathon on a trail bike best suited too off-road riding. In her racing days Reid would expect to get between 80 -90kmh down the bridge but says she will be gliding down gasping for air on race day.
Laura Stuart, Hamilton
31-year-old Laura was chosen from a list of 43 applicants to receive the custom designed racing chair courtesy of event sponsor, ASB. Two years ago, Stuart was involved in a mountain biking accident that left her paralysed from the chest down. Stuart borrowed a racing chair from Parafed and competed in the New York Marathon just 18 months after the accident, but with her own chair courtesy of ASB will be able to train and race more often.
56-year-old Walker is a former top football referee, winning the 2003 NZF Referee of the Year. He was also a keen marathon runner, completing 9 with a best time of 2:57:31. However, in 2006 an accident while out cycling saw him fracture and dislocate the T3 and T4 vertebrae, being diagnosed an upper thoracic paraplegic, leaving him in a wheelchair for accessibility. He then set out on finding activity to stay fit and satisfy the masochist within and found a passion for long distance hand cycling. He has raced in 2014 and 2017 at the New York City Marathon (through Achilles International NZ), 2017 and 2018 Buller Gorge Marathon (sole handcycle entrant), 2017 and 2018 ASB Christchurch Marathon (sole handcycle entrant). Walker will compete in the Los Angeles Marathon in April 2019 and will use the ASB Auckland Marathon as an important step towards that international opportunity. Walker appreciates the chance to race in such an event in New Zealand and believes he and others taking part can inspire the rest of New Zealand to understand that q wheelchair is not a millstone around anyone’s neck and that wheelchair use should be more involved in other events and mainstream day to day living in the community. Walker trains and races thanks to the support of Invacare New Zealand, Achilles International New Zealand, NZ Spinal Trust and Bike Barn Hornby and says he couldn’t do what he does without the support of his ‘rock’, partner Louise.
Lee Warn, Auckland
Warn broke his back T12 in a motorbike accident in 1990 but has not let that slow him down. Incredibly (when you see his CV below), the ASB Auckland Marathon will be his first marathon distance race! By day he works with Vernon Developments doing earthworks in 20 tonne diggers and rollers. Amongst his many achievements are 4 demolition derbies at Waikaraka Park, carrying the Commonwealth torch up Queen Street, first solo wheelchair race in Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, skydived, completed 8 Round the Bays, won a rock-climbing pull-up competition, trained to be a Primary School Teacher, first wheelchair to ascend the SKY Tower stairs in the Stair Challenge, officiated 11 marriages as a celebrant, completed over 48 half marathons, represented New Zealand in wheelchair sprint races, NZ rep in indoor air-rifle, many speaking engagements, travelled the world, done white water rafting, rock climbing, sit snow skiing, and walked in a robotic exoskeleton using on my mind control.
Pete Williams, Auckland
Peter is a New Zealand para-alpine sit-skier from Auckland. He graduated from the Auckland University of Technology in 2005. Passing on the 2002 Winter Paralympics in order to pursue his education, he competed at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in the giant slalom, where he finished 20th, and the slalom where he finished 22nd. Since retiring from Paralympic ski racing Pete has enjoyed wheelchair basketball with the Auckland Wheel Breakers and working full time as the Supply Chain Manager at Accessable. This will be his first full marathon but in preparation he's being cycling 20km daily and pushing his day chair 7km.
Tim Williams, Ngatea
Tim is a New Zealand paracycling representative. He broke his neck at 19 years of age while playing rugby. He turned to wheelchair rugby with almost immediate success, winning silver with the New Zealand team at the 1998 World Championship. Tim started in hand cycling in 2009 and has since won multiple New Zealand titles. He won two silver medals at the 2016 World Championships.
Catriona Williams, Masterton
One of only a select few New Zealand Riders (Mark Todd, Blyth Tait and Vaughn Jefferies the others) to have regularly represented New Zealand at both eventing and showjumping internationally. Williams suffered spinal injuries in a fall while competing in 2002. Williams works full time helping run Little Avondale Stud in the Wairarapa, with husband Sam. In addition to her role at Little Avondale, Catriona also commits a great deal of her time to The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Trust (www.catwalk.org.nz), established by a group of friends close to Catriona. They, like her, are keen to support SCI research so that they can see all those in wheelchairs back on their feet again. Catriona competed at the 2010 New York Marathon raising money and called it ‘the best thing I have done in my life’.