20 Oct

Paralysed Skateboarder Aiming To Complete LA Marathon

Jesse Swalley

Whilst wheelchair races are commonplace at running events, Jesse Swalley is hoping to complete next year's Los Angeles Marathon using a less conventional method - a skateboard. The 51-year-old was paralysed in his left leg in 1991 after being stabbed when trying to prevent two men robbing another man at a restaurant.

Jesse said: "I expect to be in the marathon. I expect it's going to happen."

Richard Traum, president and founder of Achilles International which helps disabled athletes, wasn't so confident: "This is an unusual situation. Ultimately it's the decision of the Los Angeles Marathon, it's not our decision. The issue is ultimately safety."

Marathon officials have said they are open to working with Achilles and Swalley to try to accommodate his participation, "as we do with other athletes, with equipment that meets our safety standards."

Guidelines set by USA Track and Field say such events are limited to foot races, approved racing wheelchairs and do not include other methods of wheeled transportation such as rollerblades, bicycles etc.

Swalley remains undeterred and will continue training. He has already taken part in the Guinness Book of World Records 'World's Largest Skate Parade' in which around 500 people skated two miles round LA's Venice High School. He also skated 22 miles in an all-skate marathon in San Diego last year.

Around 22,000 people are expected to take part in LA Marathon on Sunday 9 March 2014. Sports Tours International is offering various travel packages for UK runners. For information visit the Sports Tours International website.