5 Things to Know About Wheelchair Racing
1. Racing chairs are extremely expensive
You know that pair of expensive custom-made running sneakers you’re planning on using for the Broad Street Run? The cost actually pales in comparison to what the wheelchair racers pony up for the 10-miler. Racing chairs start at around $3,000.
2. Hand lotion is a must
Using your bare hands to turn the wheels of a racing chair, also known as “pushing,” would rub your hands raw. Racers use padded gloves that absorb shock and are designed with special pushing areas to get the most out of every push. A good pair of gloves runs about $180.
3. Avoid the path of racing chairs
Racing chairs are made with lightweight frames for performance, and only feature one wheel out front. This makes racing chairs tough to steer or make quick movements, but allows them to go quickly down the course and straight to glory! That means that other race participants should be aware of wheelchair racers who are competing and avoid their straight-line path.
Last year’s women’s division champion, GlobalAbilities Wheelchair Racing Team member Michelle Wheeler (yes, her real name!), posted a time of 58:24. Feeling slow, yet?
5. Wheelchair racing is international
Speaking of the GlobalAbilities Wheelchair Racing Team, they recently partnered with doctors and therapists from MossRehab, as well as engineering students at the University of Delaware, to help fine-tune a prototype for a racing chair training device that will be used by a wheelchair racing team in Ghana.