NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of athlete’s are gearing up for Sunday’s New York City Triathlon, but one participant in particular had to overcome some major challenges before even starting the course, CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
Terry Gardner arrived in town this week from Canada and said he was ready to cross the starting line at the triathlon.
“This triathlon stuff for me has been a godsend,” Gardner said.
It takes a tough, trained athlete to complete a 10K run, 40K bike ride and 1,500 meter swim. But Gardner has an additional hurdle: he’s blind.
“I tell people actually I’ve seen more places since I lost my sight than I would’ve seen had I never lost my sight,” Gardner said.
He nearly had to bow out of the race after his tandem bike that he rides with his guide, Sameh Mikhail, was destroyed, CBS 2 reported.
Gardner disassembled the racing bike and shipped it to New York, but when it arrived, it was smashed.
“I don’t even know if I tried I could destroy it like that on purpose. So we were extremely surprised,” Mikhail said.
“It was kind of disappointing when I wasn’t able to pick my bike up and use it,” Gardner said.
Gardner said the airline is working with him to replace it, but that couldn’t happen in time for the race. In order to replace the bike, he and his guide contacted the local chapter of Achilles International, a nonprofit that works with disabled athletes.
They were able to track down a bike for him to use and delivered it Saturday afternoon, CBS 2 reported.
“We’re just happy to have the bike,” Gardner said.
Gardner admits he never called himself an athlete until after losing his sight 10 years ago. He said that’s when he first began participating in triathlons, which helped him adjust to his new life. He said that’s also what has not allowed the bike roadblock to stop him.
“We can overcome this and we can make this race and do this race and we’re going to do the best we can,” he said.
As CBS 2 reported, Gardner’s guide will take part in the entire race with him, keeping him on track for the swim, run and ride.
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