By Jovan Gonczar
As the popularity of marathons grows, hand cycle racing also becomes an increasingly popular sport and opportunity for those with disabilities. The Michigan Hand Cycle Racing Series (MHRS) highlights a few key races in the state in order to bring a more competitive edge to racers and spectators and also to increase awareness of the sport. “By selecting only five races for the season, we are hoping to draw added attention to a few specific races to increase participants and spectators”, says John Waterman, one of the founders of the MHRS.
The Michigan Hand Cycle Racing Series includes the 5/3 River Run, the Meijer State Games Time Trial, the Capital City Cycling Classic, the Flint Crim, and the Grand Rapids Marathon. In order to be eligible to win the overall series, racers must register through the series and have participated in at least two selected races throughout the season.
The series wrapped up its season with the Grand Rapids Marathon on October 19, 2014. The affirmed winner of the 2014 MHRS is Travis Peruski of Linden, MI. Peruski says, “I am amazed at what I can do. I certainly give it everything I can every time I train and every time I race. I try to share all the information to racers who have just begun. I love to get beat because it pushes me to try.”
Bryan Wilkinson, another MHRS competitor, has been hand cycling since 2004 after being paralyzed in a dirt bike accident. Wilkinson says he was immediately hooked on competitive hand cycling after realizing the health benefits it can offer to people with disabilities.
MHRS Competitor Brad Baumann of Zeeland, MI notes “(hand cycling) is great therapy for the stress of life.”
If you are interested in participating in this event next year or becoming a sponsor of the series, please contact Joe Alitizer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or John Waterman (email@example.com). Sponsors of the MHRS include PEAC (Programs to Educate All Cyclists), Fusion Medical, and Athletes with Disabilities Network.