by Tim Paul
For my whole life, I have been active in sports and recreation. I like all three of the triathlon sports: running, biking and swimming. I have been doing all three since I was a kid. I used to play both beep baseball and goalball, which are sports for the blind. I met Keri Serota while she was working at GLASA, an adaptive sports organization in Chicago’s northern suburbs. She was my guide for a half-marathon in Chicago. I had already run marathons and half-marathons. My friend Allen West, who works for the park district, knew Dan Tun, who used to work there. Allen knew about the launch party and invited me.
Dare2tri was hosting an International Triathlon Competition, the ITU, in September of 2015. Dare2tri athletes were asked to be a part of triathlon relays. I signed up to do the swim part of the triathlon. A couple of days before the event, it was uncertain who would be my guide. Jarret Hubert and Chris McClendon were in town for the ITU. They were about to launch their own adaptive sports organization in Houston, Team Catapult. Chris McClendon offered to be my guide in the swim. Jarret and Chris invited me to come down and run in the Houston Marathon in January 2016. Chris guided me the whole way for that marathon, and Jarret ran the last half with me. I qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of around 4:35. As a blind runner, you need to run a marathon in less than 5 hours. It was too late to register for the 2016 Boston Marathon, but Chris also guided me in the Boston Marathon in both 2017 and 2018. I have run the Houston Marathon five straight times, 2016-2020. Team Catapult arranges a wonderful weekend of fun for those in town for the marathon, including a gala fund-raising event on Friday night, and a home stay with friends of Team Catapult who are very kind and supportive.
In the summer of 2015, Dare2tri offered open water swimming sessions at the Ohio Street Beach on Tuesday nights. The organization also partnered with Achilles Club Chicago so that athletes could run after swimming. That’s where I got to know Achilles Club. Most of my running guides are from Achilles Club. They have done a lot to help me train for the races that I have run in since then.
So Dare2tri has played a significant role in getting me connected to other adaptive sports organizations that are very important to me. I have had a great time with Dare2tri as well as with Team Catapult and Achilles Club.
I have done six triathlons, including five sprints and one Olympic distance. My last triathlon was the Chicago Triathlon last August, which ended up being a duathlon because of high waves on Lake Michigan. I participated in the sprint distance, which was a mile run, 12.4 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. Dare2tri had a tent where we hung out after the race. Then we went to the award ceremony, where I got a second place award for male blind paratriathlete. What a blast that day was thanks to Dare2tri and my guide that day, Jake.
Now that we can’t have workouts at the park, I have really enjoyed the virtual sessions, the strength sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and yoga on Friday. These are very valuable. I am looking forward to when we can go back outside and run and bike, and when we can swim in the lake or in the pool. I am also looking forward to more virtual classes.
Dare2tri is a wonderful organization, and I encourage you to join us. For more information on Dare2tri, visit their website at Dare2tri.org, or email me at [email protected].