Science

He broke his leg after falling on the metro tracks. Now He’s Preparing for the New York City Marathon: “Keep It On”

Four years earlier, Roman “Rome” but was on his way to work when he suffered a seizure and collapsed on the tracks of Brooklyn’s L train as the subway was approaching. The incident resulted in both his legs being broken and a traumatic brain injury.

But with the loss of his legs, but gained a new passion for racing. And on Sunday, But, who now lives in Connecticut, will compete in the New York City Marathon in the Hand cycling division.

“I really wanted to get that wind back in my hair, because I liked to go really fast,” he told CBS News.

But there were never great runners. Before his accident, he had said that he wasn’t really that athletic – he occasionally played basketball or Ultimate Frisbee. But that all changed when he was in a rehabilitation facility after the amputation. At the same time, someone from Achilles International, which provides athletic support to people with disabilities, introduced them to manual cycling.

“I had no idea what it was, and then the second time I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s great. You don’t even need legs to use this thing, and look at me’ ‘I ain’t nobody. It’s perfect,’ he told CBS News. “So, I got on that, I rode and I fell in love with it immediately.”

Within a few short months, he completed the TD Five Borough Bike Tour, a 40-mile ride through New York City. After that, he said doing his first marathon in 2021 seemed like a “natural progression”. He finished that race in 2 hours 11 minutes, finishing 12th out of 38.

“I knew it was going to be very emotional. And it was because, I was crying a lot all the way. … Because the first one set out to get me a lot out of it,” he said. “…but this year’s marathon, I’m gonna get the prize after the fact because my hands are about to be on the wheel, my eyes are going to be focused, and I think my timing is going to speak for itself. ”

He has dedicated a significant commitment to training. He cycles at least 13.1 miles twice a week in preparation for the marathon and spends a lot of time in the gym. He is on a mission to “conquer the world of cycling by hand”.

“I haven’t seen many other handicaps with one arm above-the-knee while riding in a marathon,” he said, noting that most of them are running marathons, which he eventually wants to do.

“Now, I’m of the ‘turn it on’ mentality.”

But his achievements have earned him a spot with the New York Road Runners, the running club sponsored by Tata Consulting Services that hosts marathons every year. But his spot is on the group’s “Team Inspire”—a group of nearly two dozen New York City Marathon competitors “who represent the magic of running.”

He has also become a much-loved TikToker, as he revels in his life as a double-amputee.

“It means a lot to me, you know, because my accident, before that, I wasn’t among the inspiring people. And now I’ve been given the opportunity to do that,” he said.

And he plans to keep chasing his athletic goals. He wants to complete the Abbott Six – the six largest marathons in the world, which include New York as well as Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin and Chicago. One day, he said, he might even make it to the Paralympics.

Those who have been following his journey hope to take an elementary lesson from his story: “Relentlessly moving forward with positive momentum.”

“There will be ups and downs… but the trend is what matters. Focus on the good,” he said. “…and at the same time, take your big problems and break them down into smaller solutions. And then all of a sudden, your many big problems turn into many, many, many small victories.”

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