Dan Brazelton, dressed as Superman, cheers runners as they cross the finish line at the 10th annual Super H 5K Sunday, Sept. 22.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
McLean After losing his leg in an accident in 2004, McLean resident Harry Freedman was, in his words, “in terrible shape.” An avid cyclist, he found himself questioning whether he’d ever be able to ride a bike again.
Soon after his accident, friends and well-wishers came together to hold what would become the first Super H race in Tysons Corner. Participants merely ran or biked around the block a few times, but enough money was raised to help Freedman get an artificial leg.
The 10th iteration of the Super H, now a 5K, took place in Tysons Corner Sunday, Sept. 22. Hundreds of runners registered for the event, which is now a fundraiser to help MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital’s adaptive sports program.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve learned to run the race practically with our eyes closed, and we’ve done well in getting more people out every year,” Freedman said. “The funds we raise here mean so much to the athletes, who are able to have the ability to play their sports and travel to compete.”
MedStar’s sports program consists of sports such as wheelchair basketball and tennis, sled hockey, sit volleyball, quad rugby, hand cycling, rowing and more.
“The money we’ve raised over the years has allowed us to move from just basketball and tennis and a budget of about $6,000, to eight different sports, and a lot of success within those programs,” said Joan Joyce, manager of therapeutic recreation programs with the hospital. “Our athletes have accomplished a lot too. We just had three adaptive rowers selected to the Paralympic Games.”
More than 300 people ran, walked and wheeled in last Sunday’s race, which took participants around the Greensboro area of Tysons.
“It was a tough race, the early part goes downhill, but it ends up with some big uphill climbs,” said Andrew Yelcie, who plays quad rugby in the program, and used his rugby wheelchair at the event. “It was a little more demanding physically than playing rugby, but that just makes it great rugby training.”
Freedman said his goal for future races is to keep raising funds for the program.
“I’m proud to see an event that carries my name is one where able bodied people and the adaptive sports athletes can come together and compete while supporting a cause that’s important to all of us,” he said.