Triathletes give special needs children the chance to compete

By Amy Donaldson, Deseret News – COALVILLE — Reese Thorne can’t walk, let alone run 3.2 miles. The 10-year-old can’t ride a bike or swim a single stroke.

But Saturday morning, he crossed the finish line of TriUtah’s 13th annual Echo Triathlon at Echo Reservoir thanks to an elite athlete named Amber Foster. She pushed and pulled a specially designed stroller carrying Thorne through each leg of the race.

“I’m his legs,” Foster said of the 10-year-old who was born at 24 weeks with cerebral palsy and a rare genetic disorder called PCH type 2, which usually results in death by age 2. “Reese loves to race.”

In fact, he loves it so much, he was in tears awaiting the start of the 6:30 a.m. event in which a group of athletes and five special needs children completed a sprint distance triathlon (which is a half-mile swim, 20-mile bike ride and 3.2-mile run).

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