RaceRunning off to a great start in Australia
Nine-year-old Arran Keith will be the first Australian to compete internationally in RaceRunning, at the 2018 RaceRunning camp in Copenhagen.
Arran’s family’s enthusiasm for the sport has reignited an earlier initiative to begin the sport in NSW. Recent support for athletes to begin RaceRunning Australia has come from Disability Sports Australia, CPISRA, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA), Disability Queensland, bike reseller Dejay Medical and Scientific and physiotherapists from Sydney Hospital.
Funding and support
RaceRunning became an internationally classified para-athletic sport in October 2017, giving more momentum for the sport in NSW. In April 2018, the fundraising efforts of Prue Gollard, Jarrod Matchett and Peter King at CPA were rewarded when Macquarie Bank agreed to sponsor the purchase of up to five running bikes. The bikes will be available in Australia from Dejay Medical and Scientific.
Meanwhile Arran’s preparations for the international camp continue. The passion began for the Keiths in 2016 when Arran was competing in a triathlon organised by Peter King at the CPA in Allambie Heights in Sydney. Peter suggested that Arran try out RaceRunning and the hunt for a bike began.
In a stroke of fantastic luck, a RaceRunner which was brought to Australia during a promotional visit by Connie Hansen was found in the store at CPA and a RaceRunning athlete was born.
Arran’s first turn at the bike had him whooping with delight as he rode down his street, cheered on by family and neighbours. He then began to use the RaceRunner during the running leg of CPA triathlons instead of his walker. The RaceRunner made an appearance at school sports carnivals gaining great applause from his classmates. Although the bike was perhaps a size too big for him,
Arran wanted to do more.
The support has been fabulous for Arran to continue and to be only the first of many other athletes in Australia to experience the joy of RaceRunning.
The Keiths and their supporters have made connections with athletes in ACT and Queensland who are also keen to try RaceRunning as soon as bikes become available.
The support of Jenni Cole, Joan Steele-Mills and the Disability Sports Australia team and the recent boost to funding signals the possibility for the sport to grow and thrive in coming years.