The angels that will alight on the course of the Arizona Distance Classic have traded in their wings for running sneakers. These particular angels are from MyTeam Triumph and each has earned his/her wings by giving disabled athletes the chance to participate in endurance events.
The athletes in the wheelchairs are called Captains, and the people that push them to the finish line are their Angels.
There are usually a minimum of three Angels to every one Captain so that they can guarantee that Captains experience the glory of crossing the finish line. Captains receive free race registration in all Arizona Distance Classic events.
This year, there will be at least nine captains, and 30 angels crossing the finish line at the Arizona Distance Classic half Marathon, quarter Marathon, and Northwest Medical Center 5k event. Most events only have two or three captains, but the Southern Arizona chapter is very active and has an abundance of eager Captains and generous Angels.
Inspired by Team Hoyt, a father and son triathlete team, Oro Valley resident Steve King established the Tucson chapter of MyTeam Triumph. The organization’s mission is to get disabled athletes the chance to participate in endurance events such as marathons, 5Ks, and triathlons. The local chapter’s first event was the El Tour de Tucson Fun Run in September.
Many of the disabled athletes are minimally- or non-verbal. It has become clear to many MyTeam Triumph Angels that oftentimes no words are necessary to communicate the sheer joy of crossing an event finish line. Tears of joy and smiles galore will send that message louder than any spoken ‘thank you’ ever could.
While MyTeam Triumph organizers are thrilled with the number of captains and angels participating in events, they lament the fact that more would participate if they had the proper equipment. “Unfortunately, the racing wheelchairs are quite expensive. I think we would have a hundred kids participating if they had the equipment to do so safely.”
Visit Tucson’s MyTeam Triumph web page at www.mtt-southernarizona.org for more information on how your readers can help support this amazing program.