West Lafayette, Ind. (WLFI) - One man added his own spin to the 13.1 mile half marathon held on Purdue's campus Saturday morning.
"I really like just getting out and feeling the wind blowing through my face," wheelchair-bound Erik Props said about riding his hand cycle. "I've been using a wheelchair for 20 plus years and this has given me a lot of freedom that I've just never had so it's kind of fun to be out on the road and just going faster than a walking pace. Just a lot of freedom."
Instead of running Props used his hand cycle in the half marathon. The hand cycle is a lot like a regular bicycle and has 27 gears. Props said his friend, who also rode his hand cycle in the marathon, introduced him to the sport about a year ago.
He said he's been training for for months to participate in the inaugural 13.1 mile race through Purdue's campus and downtown Lafayette.
"I started training in July and I think I've done about 350 miles since July so I was trying to ride three to five days a week," Props said.
Props said it's not always easy to get out there and train.
"There were days I didn't want to get out and do it, but like everybody else that's running, you've got the goal to get through this and that's why we do it," Props said.
After completing his first half marathon in a little more than 90 minutes Props said he is exhausted.
He said seeing cheering fans kept him going.
"It was great having crowds along the way in spots. That came up in really good times when I needed it and family was there cheering me on in a couple spots where I didn't see and that was a lot of fun as well," Props said.
When asked if he's going to do another half marathon Props said without a doubt.
"Absolutely, absolutely. It kind of gives me a little base line and motivation to do more," Props said.
A portion of all proceeds from Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon and 5K races will benefit the Purdue Athletes Life Success Program.
The program, known as PALS, brings about 500 local children between ages eight and 14 to campus each summer to boost their self esteem. PALS also educates children about healthy living through sports.
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