‘There’s not a victim here’
EAGLE ” Sgt. Spanky Gibson has been in plenty of combat zones during his 18-year career as a Marine. He was part of Operation Desert Storm and was in Somalia in the early ’90s.
Last year, he went to Iraq. He encountered enemy fire almost every day in Ramadi until one day a sniper shot off his leg.
It doesn’t seem likely that an adventure race in Colorado would intimidate him, even with one leg.
“It gets us out. It gets us away,” said Gibson, who is based at Fort Sill in Oklahoma.
On Friday, Gibson was at the Timberline Tours boat house in Eagle gearing up for an adventure race Saturday and Sunday sponsored by World T.E.A.M. Sports, a Boston-based nonprofit. Timberline is helping put on the event.
Ian Adamson, one of the best adventure racers in the world, created the race course, which will include biking, kayaking and mountaineering.
“They’re all can-do people,” Adamson said. “There’s not a victim here.”
Six active and retired Marines ” most of them amputees ” are participating in the event. Other participants include sponsors and other athletes such as former Paralympic skier and local resident Sarah Will and Erik Weihenmeyer, the first blind person to climb Mount Everest.
World T.E.A.M. Sports aims to team able-bodied and disabled people in events such as biking and running.
“People with disabilities tend to get segregated,” said Chris Carrigg, executive director of the nonprofit. “They tend to be not included. … Sports is a great platform to bring those two groups together.”
Retired Cpl. Dan Lasko was also preparing for the event Friday. He lost his leg below the knee in Afghanistan after his truck ran over a homemade bomb.
“It was an ambush,” he said. “I saw my foot dangling there and I said, ‘It’s going to go.'”
Lasko, who lives in Easton, Pa., has been doing running races, triathlons and other multi-sport events since he was hurt in 2004.
“To prove to people with disabilities that you can still do stuff you like to do,” he said.
He competes with Team Semper Fi, which helps disabled vets compete in sports. His injury hasn’t changed his life, he said.
“Not at all,” he said. “Just a lot of stares.”
Weihenmeyer ” who has climbed the highest peaks on each of the seven continents ” is a member of the board of directors of World T.E.A.M. Sports. The events show the “power of what a diverse team can do.”
Different people bring different strengths to a team, he said. An adventure race is a great way to showcase that, he said.
“It’s about everyone finishing together and bringing their strengths,” he said.
Organizers hope the event will return next year with a more participants and sponsors.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.
Day one: Biking from Virginia Creek Divide above Radium down to the Colorado River, then up to the Pumphouse. Getting in inflatable kayaks and paddling 12 miles down to Rancho Del Rio.
Day two: Some of the racers will go up to Yarmony Mountain for an orienteering expedition. Others will continue to paddle down the river. The racers will meet back up and finish at the Catamount Bridge near Burns.
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