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.