Athlete Update: Gerritt Schaffer

By Gerritt Schaffer

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I am very grateful for this racing chair.  I started using this chair one year ago.  Since that time I have had some incredible life changing experiences.  The freedom that comes with the ability to run again is amazing.  It is actually better than running, my knees don’t hurt like everyone else my age complains about.  I may struggle some with the uphills but the downhills make up for it.  I have a much higher top speed than an able bodied runner.

I wanted the Top End Eliminator to compete in the running portion of the local Best in the West Triathlon that is in my hometown.  I never imagined the doors that would be opened with this new piece of equipment.  To compete in a triathlon you must swim, bike, and run.  I have been swimming since I was paralyzed (4 years).  I have had my cycle for a while, and would have guessed that to be my strongest discipline.  I have now found that running is my strongest by far.  I can run twice as fast as my friends.  It is great.  Before I was paralyzed I could maybe run 2 miles.  Last February I did a half marathon (13 miles).  I finished in the top of the group with the elite runners.  I bested my age group by 20 minutes.  I just love the friendship and encouragement from the other runners.  At these events I am approached by many people who tell me they are encouraged just because I am there!

I use this chair to run at 6:30 am a few times a week.  I use it rain or shine.  It has changed my life.  Running without legs gives my mind incredible courage to face the day.  The freedom of flying down the country road as the crisp morning sun hits my face.  I wouldn’t know how to live without it.  I am super grateful to GoHawkeye Foundation for doing this for me.  I surely don’t deserve it, and I could never pay them back for the incredible blessing that it has been to my life.

 “I just want to encourage others like me to get active.  Motion creates emotion.  There is nothing stopping us except our own minds.  Now is the time to move, to run! ” 

– Gerritt Schaffer
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