Monday, April 19, 2010

Disabled Iraq War vets take on Boston Marathon

From The Boston Channel:

BOSTON -- A dozen amputee veterans will take on the 114th Boston Marathon on April 19. They are part of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, run by the New York-based Achilles Track Club.

The organization, founded in 2004, helps disabled men and women compete in athletic events. The program provides motivation, training and the opportunity to rebuild strength and endurance.

The group who will run the marathon is made up of wounded vets from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been training at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Kinard, one of the race participants, lost both of his legs in Iraq four years ago.

“I said 'You know, this is not gonna change my life a bit. This is not gonna hold me back from anything I want to do,'" said Kinard.

Eleven of the 12 participants from the Achilles Freedom Team will be using hand-cranked wheelchairs in the race.

"I don't think I could have run a marathon when I had legs, so it feels special," said Peter Rooney.

The entire team was honored Sunday before the Red Sox-Rays game at Fenway Park in Boston.

For the Veterans, they said the Boston Marathon is not just about rebuilding strength, it’s about overcoming obstacles and reminding the community about the troops still in harm's way.