Lady Legend of Ironman
When you damage your spinal cord, the last thing you think about in the hospital is what your first handcycling marathon will be like. But for Trish Downing, a T4 paraplegic injured doing what she loves the most — bicycling — this was just who she was.

Trish Downing“My first race post-injury was five months after I was discharged from the hospital,” she says. “While I was in rehab at Craig Hospital, one of my friends told me about Team Diabetes and talked me into fundraising and doing a marathon,” she says. “So without having even been in a racing chair before, I committed to the race.”

Downing, now 45, competed in her first marathon in 2001, doing the half-marathon. “It fueled the fire for me to want to do more racing,” she adds, but quickly realized handcycling by itself wasn’t enough.

“Many of the handcycling races were held along with able-bodied bike races; it was too depressing for me to go and see everyone doing what I would never do again,” she admits. So in 2002 she decided to try a brand new sport — triathlons — the sport that combines swimming, handcyc