Lansing marathon director, national Paralympic coach weigh in on hand cycle controversy

May 2, 2014

Owen Anderson, Race Director of the Lansing Marathon, says the Lansing marathon is an event sanctioned by USA Track and Field. Their regulations prohibit geared devices from being used in the competition. Geared devices include hand cycles.
Credit Flicker- John Trefethen

On Thursday, a controversy broke out surrounding the Lansing Marathon, which takes place this Sunday.

The marathon, in its 3-year existence, has not allowed disabled athletes using hand cycles to compete. 

Hand cycles are basically 3-wheeled cycles that ride low to the ground with a gear and pedal system operated by the user’s hands.  The marathon has, however, allowed disabled athletes to compete using a push-rim wheelchair or a racing wheelchair. 

Thursday evening, Current State spoke with a hand cyclist from Houghton Lake, Michigan named Tom D’Ambrosio, who was also featured in a Lansing State Journal article in Friday’s edition. He says he was told by Mayor Bernero that if the Lansing marathon doesn’t allow all people to participate, there will be no marathon in Lansing next year. Current State confirmed the Mayor’s comments with his spokesperson.  While it might seem discriminating to prohibit Tom and other hand cyclists from participating in Sunday’s event, there is another side to the story.  Current State spoke with Lansing Marathon Race Director Owen Anderson and Wendy Gumbert, a coach for the US Paralympic national wheelchair racing team and the manager of Paralympic sports for the state of Texas.