Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Story 5: The Wheelathon

Though the first Wheelathon was actually held in 1971 in Stanley Park, the event didn't take place on a regular basis until 1988. At its peak, upwards of 600 people in teams of 10 - 15 gathered at Swangard Stadium to raise money and wheel around the track while enjoying music, food and entertainment. Some people came in costumes, others earned prizes for the most "spirit." At one point, the event was even sponsored by Hagen-Daaz ice cream!

In addition to being a success fundraiser, the Wheelathon also raised awareness about wheelchair sports, though for many able-bodied people new to pushing a wheelchair this "awareness" came in the form of blisters on their hands the next day. The focus of the Wheelathon has always been that there are multiple ways to get around -- walking, pushing a wheelchair, rollerblading, bicycling, etc -- and all of these modes can exist together.

Though the Wheelathon no longer takes place, today we take a look back at an event that put the 'fun' back in fundraising. In addition to gathering some of the best Wheelathon Photos, we've unearthed a TV commercial from the first wheelathon and we've even got a news story from the 1994 Wheelathon.

Do you have a favourite Wheelathon memory? Share it in the comment box below or go on Facebook to leave us a message.

Footage from a TV commercial for the first annual Wheelathon:

A news story about the 1994 Wheelathon.

Wheelathon style at its finest.

Even heavy rains didn't deter participants...

They just brought their snorkels.

Gathering at the starting line.

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