By Janet McKibben and Michael Hicks—
Muncie, IN—The 10-K run was crowded and fast. Two brothers, Scott and Danny Taylor, enjoyed the thrill of competition on that brisk spring morning. Team Taylor differed little from the other racers in enthusiasm and spirit, but only one man could run in this race.
Danny Taylor, who suffered cerebral palsy at birth, was pushed by Scott in a specially adapted racing stroller. Cerebral Palsy limited Danny’s ability to control his movements and posture, but it did nothing to restrain his joy of athletics or competition.
Scott, a physician, is an avid runner who enjoyed the extra challenge and reward of completing the race with his brother. “This race was life changing for Danny and I. We’d been close our whole lives, but the chance to run with him was something I’d never been able to do” Scott said.
On the morning of the race, Danny and Scott were already veterans of adaptive sports. Danny had spent several years in adaptive water skiing, in Indiana lakes. This 10-k run would turn out to be one of many in which Danny raced.
In the years that followed, local running enthusiasts Paul Stewart and Lance Ottinger raced with Danny and Scott in mini marathons and several 5 and 10k races across central Indiana.
Adaptive racing is not new. Team Hoyt, consisting of father Dick and son Rick, began a love affair with the sport in the late 1970’s, bringing the duo to the Boston Marathon and the Ironman in Hawaii. The sport has grown, and there is no shortage of willing participants, but the cost of an adaptive stroller keeps many willing athletes away from races.
Hoping to end this problem, a new non-profit, PUSH: Athletes Breaking Barriers is working to provide adaptive strollers to athletes around east central Indiana.
”PUSH was founded to create fitness opportunities for all abilities, not disabilities.” Lance Ottinger noted, adding “we allow the rider and runner to develop a bond during their training and racing, learning from each other and reaching their goals.”
This new non-profit organization honors the memory of Danny Taylor, a Ball State retiree who was a fixture at Bracken Library for four decades. Danny, who passed away in January, was a lifelong Muncie resident, whose passions included the Civic theatre. He was also a frequent spectator at the Cardinal women’s basketball and volleyball matches.
Ribbon Cutting and Public Run on June 12th
A formal ribbon cutting of PUSH’s first adaptive stroller will take place on June 12, at Frog Baby Fountain on Ball State Campus. The setting honors Danny Taylor and his four decades of service to Ball State. The ceremony will be followed by a run to Minnetrista, Tuhey Pool and ending at Roots for lunch.
The public is encouraged to run with us.