Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wheelchair Athletes Watching Weather Too

Four-time defending Aramco Houston Half Marathon wheelchair champion Ramiro Bermudez is just as concerned about Sunday's weather as those who will be able to run the event.

Perhaps more so.

Bermudez, as well as 2005 women's winner Holly Koester from the Cleveland, Ohio area, both explained that the wet weather will keep the wheel slick and make it more difficult for the wheelers to grab the wheel and push it through.

I asked Bermudez why there weren't as many wheelchair athletes competing here as there used to be and he indicated that, at this time of the year, many wheelers are playing basketball.

Koester just hopes that she can beat her winning 3:23:37 time. In 2005, the 47-year-old was the women's first winner since 1999. There were no female wheelchair marathoners a year ago.

Bermudez, meanwhile, has improved his time in each of the past three years, from 1:16:41 in 2004 to 1:03:20 in 2005 to his best time of 59:54 in 2006. (His personal best half marathon of 54:37 came at the 3M Half Marathon in Austin in 2000.)

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