Mike Vasquez has participated in marathons all over the country and this past weekend he came in 8th at the Boston Marathon in the hand-cycling division.
Vasquez was wounded in the Middle East while deployed, which left him without the use of his legs. So for these marathons, he races in the hand-cycling division using a modified bike which he petals with his hands. He finished the Boston Marathon in 8th place with a time of one hour and 21 minutes.
“For me if my mind wasn’t busy, my mind got to thinking thoughts from overseas and stuff,” said Vasquez.
For him, staying active wasn’t just to keep him fit but to help heal his mind as well.
“Just because you’re in a chair or you have a prosthetic, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I thought it was the end of life, but I got into hand-cycling and it’s opened up a variety of things,” he said.
His next race? Of course the Mayor’s Marathon on April 28. This will be the first year the Mayor’s Marathon will include hand-cycling and other types of races for disabled people. Vasquez talked with the race coordinator and Mayor Pope about making sure those races were included this year.
“All the other major races include them, so why not Lubbock?” he said.
And in the Mayor’s Marathon, just like all the other races before, he will be flying an american flag on the back of his bike.
“It’s a positive reminder of where we live and the freedom we have not only because of my service but others and those before me,” he said. “It’s a constant reminder of those who didn’t make it back.”
And although he’s already finished the Boston Marathon, that’s not the end of his journey.
“Hopefully one day I’m in the paralympics and I’d be representing this flag, so why not start now?”
There is still time to register for the Mayor’s Marathon. You can find the details here.