Sunday, September 17th was a big day for BDI Playhouse, who hosted their inaugural I Can Du It! Adaptive Duathlon. This race was the first ever adaptive sporting event hosted by BDI Playhouse and one of the only of its kind in the area. Adaptive sports are modified or adapted activities or sports that allow people with a disability or physical limitation to participate with increased independence, enjoyment, and self-confidence.
The racers had been preparing for this day for a very long time and the day was finally here! The countless hours working on biking skills and building endurance was about to pay off. On this day, 22 racers, both children who have disabilities and their siblings, braved the rain and gathered at BDI Playhouse in Orland Park to race laps around the parking lot with a modified run-bike-run format in order to include kids of all abilities. Racers used assistive devices, adapted bikes, wheelchairs, specialized wheelchairs, bikes with training wheels, and two-wheel bikes to complete the 1-1.5 mile race course. Each racer had a buddy to race with, their choice of either a family member or therapist, to ensure safety and encourage the racers along the course.
Despite the rain clouds above, you could feel the excitement in the air. Race t-shirts were worn, cheering was heard, and medals were awarded to all of our hard-working athletes. It was hard to tell if the smiles on the parents’ or the racers’ faces were bigger! One mother said that her daughter who raced “was on cloud nine from start to finish”. Meanwhile, her daughter excitedly shared that her “favorite part of the race was biking through all the puddles!” One of BDI Playhouse’s therapists exclaimed that today was “the best morning at BDI” that she’s ever had.
To our greatest excitement and despite the rainy weather, the race went off without a hitch! Families, racers, volunteers, and therapists shared in the excitement following the race, excitedly discussing plans for the race next year. For the first year, registration was kept to invitation only as a first year test-run, so to speak. We look forward to growing the race next year with a goal of opening the race to more community members to further promote inclusion and access to adaptive sports of all varieties for kids of all abilities.
No amount of photos or words can accurately and fully describe the pride, excitement, and pure joy the day encapsulated. This day will truly live on in the memories of our clients and racers, families, and therapists minds forever. So until the planning process begins for next year’s Adaptive Duathlon, which will be here sooner than we know, please join us in reliving the day with these heartwarming and inspiring photos.
Keep scrolling to check out the photo highlights from the race!
Cassidy Bannon, PT, DPT