Hand Cyclists Ride in Route 66 Marathon

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Thousands of hopefuls will cross the finish line during the Route 66 Marathon, but some will do it on wheels.

At 65-years-old Ken Lewis puts the pedal to the medal when it comes to competing in marathons, but he puts a spin on the method, by using a hand cycle.

“Being that low to the ground it just seems like you’re going 100 miles per hour, it’s just an exhilaration, it’s just a freedom,” said Lewis.

It’s a freedom Lewis holds close to his heart, as he us unable to move around on his own.

“I can’t walk without my leg braces on,” said Lewis.

Lewis was diagnosed with Polio at the age of five. He faces physical struggles, but does not let it define him. He proves that by taking home titles at races.

“I try to maybe figure out a different way than most people would to accomplish getting around an obstacle,” said Lewis.

His level of talent doesn’t happen overnight. Lewis trains daily for these hand cycling races. Even if it’s cold outside he uses an at-home trainer to keep the wheels in motion.

“The faster I try to go, the more resistance it gives me. I keep track of my miles, keep track of my speed, my heart rate,” said Lewis.

This is Lewis’s first time competing in the Route 66 Marathon here in Tulsa. He hopes to beat his personal record by finishing a marathon in under an hour and 36 minutes. Lewis is thankful for the opportunity to compete side by side with the runners.

“We want to get everybody out there moving and it’s something here for everyone,” said Destiny Green, Hospitality and Procurement Director of the Route 66 Marathon.

Lewis hopes to encourage other paraplegics to steer towards cycling. It may be hard to start but like any sport, you have to push through.

“Just get in the groove and just ride, the main thing is to ride,” said Lewis.

You can track his progress along with the other participants in the race by downloading the new Route 66 Marathon app.

The Marathon, Half Marathon, and Marathon Relay all take place on Sunday in downtown Tulsa, all starting bright and early at 8 in the morning.

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