Running (as well as other sports) with Disabilities
In high school I ran pretty much everyday. I still try to run as much as possible, but it’s harder as everyone on here well knows due to the loads of homework and assignments given to us here in college. Anyways, a few weeks ago when we discussed Professor LaVaque-Manty’s paper “Being a Women and Other Disabilities” it came to my attention a video clip had I seen. The video clip is of a disabled man that jumps a massive gap, in his wheelchair! (skip to 30 seconds for the actual jump)
This is where I feel that disabled people really aren’t that inhibited to doing sports. After I had watched this video a new appreciation for physically disabled people and sports developed for me.
Another point in Professor LaVaque-Manty’s paper that I really resonated with is the section about how the wheelchair participants weren’t getting equal treatment in the New York City Marathon. Having run the Chicago Marathon and seeing the wheelchair athletes it surprised me that they were even considered to be inferior to the actual runners. In the 2009 Chicago Marathon the 1st place wheelchair participant (Heinz Frei) came in with a time of 1:26:56 for the full marathon. The first place runner (Sammy Wanjiru) came in with a time of 2:06:24 for the full marathon. The wheelchair participant beat the runner buy 40 minuets! Right there is proof enough that just cause you have a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t compete.
Diane Van Deren is another great example of some one who is disable that rises above the rest even though she is disabled, and even * gasp * a women. Having always ran with my mom, I have the utmost respect for women in sports. There are plenty of girls who can match and sometimes even out play men if sports. But, back to Diane Van Deren; After reading the bio at the bottom on Diane I believe that other people should as well feel that women can compete in sports even with men. Diane is an ultra-marathoner. This means that she runs races that are 100+ miles. What makes Diane Van Deren “disabled” though is that she had had epilepsy, and then underwent brain surgery to fix the problem. The part of her brain that they removed also happened to be the part that lets a person tell how much time has passed. So, long story short, Diane Van Deren can’t tell how much time has passed. This is why on her 100 mile runs that take roughly 14-20 hours she doesn’t feel like that much time has passed. This comes to a great advantage for her. Since she can’t tell time, she just keeps running, and running, and running. Usually placing her in the top 5 of most races.
So I would like to know your opinions, do you think that by having a disability that gives you an advantage you are still a “disabled” athlete, or should you be considered as a normal athlete just with an advantage?
I used ideas for the documentary http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=6239758 on Diane Van Deren if you wish to watch it.
Diane Van Deren Bio: http://www2.thenorthface.com/na/athletes/athletes-DVD.html
Other sources on Chicago Marathon: http://results.active.com/pages/searchform.jsp?rsID=102291