It has been only a short 63 years since the world’s first international competition for athletes in wheelchairs was held in Aylesbury, England. In 1952, less than a decade after the end of World War II, England and the Netherlands joined at the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital for the first Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralyzed. The World Wars and the period after had shone a light on the needs of the many veterans who had returned with physical and psychological impairments and soon the games gained steam, evolving into the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games we know today and paving the way for the Paralympics.
It’s quite amazing to think about the major impact that the not-so-long-ago World Wars have had on society’s view of individuals with disabilities. Following the World Wars, the worldview shifted—and rightfully so—to looking at what an individual could do with the abilities he/she does possess as opposed to focusing on a person’s disability as an insurmountable limitation. Today, disabled athletes and Paralympians participate in a wide variety sports, many times alongside athletes without disabilities, and their contributions to the world of sports have been many.
When the Helen Hayes Hospital Classic 10K Race was founded in 1983, it was in this spirit of celebrating the contributions of each and every sportsman. On Classic Race Day, runners, wheelchair racers, handcyclists, and athletes of all abilities race alongside each other, pushing themselves to achieve their personal bests with the abilities that they do possess. The race is not only a testament to the equalizing power of sportsmanship, but to how far we have come as a society in such a relatively short time.
Join us on October 4th for the 2015 HHH Classic Race in West Haverstraw, NY and experience the power of this amazing race for yourself. In addition to the 10K, there will be a 1-mile Fun Run and Family Fun Activity Zone for attendees. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation’s mission to support rehabilitation services and research at HHH.
Learn more about the 2015 HHH Classic Race and register online before October 2nd at hhhclassicrace.racewire.com.
We hope to see you at the race!
-HHH Classic Race Committee