Inland Empire athletes of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in the 16th annual PossAbilities & Kids Triathlon, which will be held at 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Drayson Center on the campus of Loma Linda University Health at 25040 Stewart Street in Loma Linda.
In addition to the two triathlons — one each for adults and children — the event will also feature a 5K run and lots of fun activities and games.
Pedro Payne, PhD, director of community outreach at Loma Linda University Health, says the event was designed to showcase the abilities of disabled athletes. The goal of the free community outreach program is to offer disabled individuals who were born with or have suffered a permanent physical injury a sense of community and a healthy social network.
While noting that members included people with disabilities from limb amputation, stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and other causes, Payne says they don’t allow disabilities to define who they are.
“These men and women are determined competitors,” Payne says. “They are in it to win it and they go all out to show the world what they can do.”
While many participants are amateurs, the event also attracts professional athletes.
Paralympics hopeful Zimri Solis, a 35-year-old runner from Highland, California, belongs to that latter category.
Solis lost his right leg to complications of meningitis when he was 10, but thanks to adaptive equipment, he went on to become an avid runner. This will be his fifth PossAbilities triathlon.
Last year, he set a personal best time of 1 hour and 21 minutes, but hopes to finish the course — which includes a 3.1-mile run, walk or roll course, an 11-mile bicycle course, and a 150-yard swim course — much faster this year.
“I want to cut at least 10 minutes off my time,” Solis says. “I’m trying to get it down to 1 hour, 10 minutes or less. I’ve been in training more days this year, working on leg endurance. I’ve also been swimming a lot more than last year.”
Solis, who is also in training for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, recently hired a new coach and a nutritionist. The coach is helping him finesse a new workout routine designed to improve his speed and stamina, and the nutritionist is helping to maximize his internal fitness. Solis forecasts that the help will enable him to push beyond his goals.
“I definitely predict that I will knock out the swim in four minutes or less,” Solis says. “It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to do it.” He also predicts he will take first place in his category, a position he has held the last three years.
April 20 is the deadline for mail-in registration, while April 27 is the deadline for online registration. Registration forms and additional information are available at https://teampossabilities.org/16th-annual-possabilities-triathlon/