UTICA, N.Y. – In last year’s Boilermaker race, AJ Timperlake achieved something not many have done before. He completed the 9.3-mile course in a wheelchair.
It was part of Sitrin Rehab Center’s Boilermaker Wheel Chair Challenge. At their center in New Hartford, AJ received his prize for completing the course. A yellow custom racing wheelchair donated by a local family. But he didn’t get this prize without a big obstacle on race day.
"Mile 7 I fell out of my wheelchair so I broke my hip, and if you've ever been hurt you are in this daze. In the first interview I said I'm going to finish this race. If I can't do it in 2 hours and 15 minutes then I'm going to do it, and I did,” said AJ Timperlake.
After falling, AJ thought his race was over. But he insisted on picking himself up and finishing the race.
"In the first interview I said, ‘I'm gonna finish this race. If I can't do it in 2 hours and 15 minutes then I'm going to do it,’ and I did,” said Timperlake.
Deb and Tom Martin put in $3,700 of their own money to pay for the bike. They say they weren’t able to donate last year, but this year they didn’t hesitate. It’s AJ’s perseverance that inspired them to donate.
"The perseverance, that he fell out of the chair and almost anyone would have said, ‘OK good try, try again next year.’ But the fact that he had people help him off of the road, get back in the chair and finish the race, that perseverance – we admire that,” said Deb Martin.