"Wheel" You Help Robert Roll Across the Finish Line?

You might have seen this young man wheeling around Matt Talbot.  His name is Robert Rieck and he is an Alcohol & Drug Counselor at Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach.  On Sunday, October 29th, Robert will compete in the Good Life Halfsy using his manual rugby wheelchair (and lots of will power!) to cover the 13.1 mile course.  One of Robert’s motivations to participate in the race is to help raise funds for five organizations, including Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach.  Your donation to Matt Talbot in support of Robert will help the homeless and near homeless of Lincoln find possibilities when things seem impossible.

“I am dedicated with determination, strength and straight up willpower.  I want to be a positive inspiration to others.” 

More about Robert:

Robert is a C-5 quadriplegic who has been playing wheelchair rugby for 10+ years with the Omaha-based Midwest Rugby Rebels.  He is a creative and critical thinker, an environmentalist, and a spiritual person.  He can travel, kayak, scuba dive, clean his house, feed himself, and do laundry.  In fact, with a few exceptions, it likely Robert can do most things by being creative about how to accomplish it.

Many are surprised to learn that Robert is training for a half marathon.  After all as a C-5 quadriplegic, he has very limited voluntary use of his arms and uses 2 out of 35 muscles normally used in a human arm – making it extra difficult to push his heavy, tank-like rugby wheelchair with no gears and no brakes.  His body temperature control does not work so there is nothing preventing him from overheating (he does not sweat).  And he wears weightlifting belts across his stomach and chest to stabilize the trunk of his body which limits his breathing potential.

But Robert is not discouraged by these challenges.

In fact, Robert worked with race organizers and advocated for more representative divisions for wheelchair athletes.  Now when an individual using a wheelchair registers for the Good Life Halfsy, several subcategories appear that represent various abilities and creates fair divisions for competition.

Robert’s goal is to complete the race safely and achieve a new personal record.  He is motivated by the opportunity to challenge and inspire other wheelchair users – and the rest of us - to push the envelope and exceed expectations.  Preparing for the half marathon is good training for his primary sport of wheelchair rugby and keeps him accountable to himself.  And raising money for causes he cares about motivates him to keep going, push harder and push faster!

This will be the second time Robert has competed in a half marathon.  Both times he used his story to create some good.


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Thank you for helping push Robert across the finish line!

“When it starts to get tough, I look at life through the lens of people who throughout history have unfairly suffered much worse than I could ever possibly suffer pushing my body to the limits. This becomes my strength.” - Robert