Handicapped marathoners take on 50 races in 50 weeks - New York News

Handicapped marathoners take on 50 races in 50 weeks

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PHOENIX -

A number of events are going on this weekend in the valley – once of them is the PF Changs Rock 'n Roll Marathon. That means tens of thousands of people are arriving in town, and some of them have pretty amazing stories.

We talked with three men who are doing the full marathon in wheelchairs.

"Let it go, it happened, now you've got bigger and better things to do," says Paul Erway.

That's the attitude Erway took on after his spinal cord was injured in an auto accident.

"It was racing that got me out the first time, it's racing that'll get me out the second time, so that's why I'm out here doing it again."

He's competing this weekend with friends Grant Bethaiume and Aaron Roux. They're all in wheelchairs.

"I was home on leave, I was in the Marine Corps, and I was a passenger in a motor vehicle accident and broke my neck," says Aaron Roux.

"24 years ago I was framing a house here in north Phoenix, flipped off the side of the roof and snapped my back," says Grant Berthiaume.

"I hit a pickup truck... four surgeries, five months out of work," says Paul Erway.

Their stories are different, but they live with similar spinal cord injuries that have confined them to wheelchairs.

Their journey didn't start in Phoenix and it's certainly not ending here. The men are competing in 50 marathons in 50 weeks in all 50 states. They're raising money for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to support spinal cord injury research.

"This is number three. The first two were big challenges. Jackson, Mississippi was very hilly, there wasn't a flat spot and very rough roads," says Erway.

"And the Houston marathon we did last weekend, it rained the whole time but I was the first wheelchair across in Houston so it was pretty exciting," says Bethauime.

Their final race is December 8th. By then they'll have raced over 1,300 miles.

"You can have a disability and have big goal in life, and 50 marathons might seem like a lot but it's a big goal that I want to go after," says Roux.

They also talk at rehab centers and hospitals, encouraging others with disabilities to get active.

Other events going on this weekend is the Crossroads of the West gun show, the Barrett Jackson collector car auction, and the Phoenix Coyotes' first home game on Sunday.

Online: www.50abilitymarathons.com 

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