Backwards Bill

Posted: October 31, 2014 in PERSONAL, Running
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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With more than 330 disabled athletes  – in 150 wheelchairs, the TCS NYC Marathon has the largest fields of athletes with disabilities of any race in the world.  As part of our partnership with Runners World for this year’s marathon Amy Freeze caught up a New Yorker who has done more than 30 marathons on two wheels.

With arms that barely function and legs of diminished strength, Bill Reilly must use steady kicks in small motions to move his chair. What seems like a method against the odds – is actually the inspiration of an endurance athlete.

He’s become so familiar racing through the boroughs, the crowd gave him a nick name explains his guide Harold Chayefsky. “He’s famous on the course. They approve and they scream and they know him on the course after 25 years or so.”

“Backwards Bill,” is the nickname of Bill Reilly who has Cerbal Palsey yet claims nothing – not even training for 26.2 miles – to be difficult. He takes a trip in 1.5 hours to get weekly workout in every Saturday  with his team.

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He meets up with his Achilles Team Guides – and they simulate the steering and breaking they will do on race day – where downhills can take them to a 7 minute pace amongst their 10 minute pace.  On the course when runners are shoulder to shoulder on the course,  “First ave is tricky and in harlem some of the hills are tricky and 59th street brigdge…” Harold explains.

His never give up and never give in attitude comes from his family –

“Started with his mom – his mom they wanted to put him away – his mother said no he’s my son and I’m going to make him grow and productive.”  It’s the same  message Bill hopes others get from seeing him on race day.

Bill says, “Disabled people you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it!”

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