Monday, January 24, 2011

Canada’s Mark Arendz Captures First IPC World Cup Victory

Canada’s Mark Arendz
Captures First IPC World Cup Victory

Canada’s Mark Arendz captured his first IPC World Cup victory after winning the gold medal in a biathlon individual race on Sunday in Vuokatti, Finland on Sunday.

Arendz shot clean to post a winning time of 39 minutes, 35.9 seconds in a tight sprint to the wire with Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset and Russia’s Oleg Balukhto who he has been fighting for the medals with all week in the men’s standing division – one of the deepest on the IPC World Cup.

“That was amazing,” said Arendz. “My first World Cup victory and to shoot clean – nothing feels better.”

Ulset settled for the silver medal at 40:52.1, while Balukhto was third (41:56.1).

It was the third medal of the week for the 20-year-old Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I. The 2010 Paralympian won a silver and a bronze in the biathlon sprint and pursuit races respectively.

“I think the two podium finishes this week definitely gave me the confidence to know I deserve to be here with these guys,” said Arendz. “I woke up this morning and felt ready to go and said this is my day. I couldn’t be happier.”

Full Story

Congrats Mark!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gulf Shore School's 20th Anniversary

Alex first told me that Gulf Shore School was going to be celebration their 20th anniversary a few months ago. He mentioned it again when he came home from work Thursday, informing me it was that night.
This is Alex's way of "expressing great interest" in going somewhere (which, aside from running/races/RoadRunner functions, is quite rare) and, since we had no plans and the weather was good, we went back to his old stomping grounds Thursday evening to check out the party......

The Gulf Shore School's 20th Anniversary was held in Gulf Shore School Thursday, January 20.
I met my teachers, principal Mary Jane Ready and students.
The school photo albums from beginning to now. Meals and entertainment at Multi-purpose Room.
It was a good time.

Alex with his Grade 1 teacher Mrs. Gallant

This photo completes our "collection" of photos of
'Alex & his Gulf Shore TAs':

Gulf Shore Consolidated School is a Kindergarten to Grade 9 school (it was 1-9 when Alex went but he also attended the, then private, Kindergarten in the school). Alex's academic success is due, in large part, to these TAs ("Teacher's Aides" as they were known at the time) who worked in the classroom 1-1 with Alex.

Ms. Hunt, "MJ", entered Alex life when he was 3 and had been placed in a Daycare a few hours a week to hang out with "normal" kids... She followed him to school and was by his side until the end of grade 3.

Alex & Ms. Hunt at the 2007 Cornwall Classic and at Alex's Olympic Torch Run in 2009.

Miss Ross (and although she is now Mrs. Ross Shepherd, she's still "Miss. Ross" to Alex) worked with Alex for grades 4, 5 & 6.

Alex & "Miss Ross" at Alex's Olympic Torch Run in 2009 and at the 2007 Run for the Cure.

Ms. Bond worked with Alex in Grade 7 & 8.

Alex & Ms. Bond at the 2010 Month Before Christmas Run & at Buzzie's iRunman fundraiser in '06

Ms. Murphy worked with Alex in Grade 9. She also worked with him a bit in grade 2 and was around the school his entire time there.

Happy 20th Anniversary Gulf Shore School!
Alex Bain - Class of 2002

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tommy Des Brisay - "The First Fastest Runner"

We're delighted to introduce you to Tommy Des Brisay...

Tommy Des Brisay and his father, Peter Des Brisay
"Tommy is an athlete with Autism who lives in Ottawa, Canada. Tommy was always a "runner" (a term used for kids with Autism who often run off or wander), and has had an Autism Service Dog, whose role is to help keep him safe, since the age of 7. In 2006 he began running (in the correct direction!) daily with his Dad and Matrix (his dog). Soon, Matrix and his Dad could no longer keep up! His Dad now rides a bike beside him to keep him safe during runs.

Tommy races in road races, high school cross country and track races, and trains with the Ottawa Lions. He also cross-country skis, and has competed at the Ontario high school championships. Recently, Tommy began paddling with "Paddle All" at the Rideau Canoe Club. He is just one of a number of athletes in Ottawa who have overcome many different challenges to achieve remarkable things through athletics.

Tommy did not begin to talk until the age of 7, and it was primarily through learning to read that he began to learn language. While running, Tommy often chants "I think I can...", recites lines from Disney movies, or sings. He crosses each finish line with great personal pride. Empowered by athletics, he is conquering enormous communication challenges and other aspects of Autism. Tommy inspires many through his determination, enthusiasm for life, and the huge smile always on his face while competing! The Ottawa athletic community has warmly embraced Tommy's uniqueness.

Tommy's mantra is "I'm going to be the first fastest runner in the world!", which inspired the title of this mini documentary. Thank you, Jordan and Dave, for capturing the joy that is Tommy's running and sharing it with others."

I'm hoping to someday see Tommy & Alex line up side by side at a race start line, (that Great Canadian Goat Run perhaps?!) though Tommy will leave Alex in his dust by the finish line.

How fast is he? Here's his PB's:
5k- 16:43
10k- 34:32
Half Marathon 1:18:04

Track PB's:
3000m 9:21
1500m 4:23

Tommy's YouTube Channel

If you're ever running in Ottawa and spot Tommy and his big smile, say hello!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Autistic runner moving up fast in 5K pack

Autistic runner moving up fast in 5K pack

Robert Sansaricq with his mother, Mary, and father, who is examining some the running medals Robert won in 2010. (David Lee/Hudson-Catskill Newspapers)
Robert Sansaricq and his father, Ralph, run at their home in Ghent. Robert, who has autism, is rapidly decreasing his 5K race time as he competes in more of the runs. (David Lee/Hudson-Catskill Newspapers)

By John Mason
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:06 PM EST
GHENT — Robert Sansaricq, 19, began running competitively in April. In seven months, he shaved more than five minutes off his time in the 5K run, dropping from a time of 25:37 at the Sean French Run in April to 20 minutes flat at the Chatham Turkey Trot in November.

His Turkey Trot time was good for 25th place overall, out of a field of 312.

Why has such a natural runner kept his light under a bushel?

Robert was diagnosed with classic autism at the age of 2. He is not mentally retarded, but he is non-verbal — the part of his brain that controls communication does not function normally.

His mother, Mary Sansaricq, gives a lot of credit to the Wildwood Center in Schenectady, where Robert has been a student for seven or eight years, for helping him develop his receptive language.

“They’re experts, they know what they’re doing,” she said. “He’s well-behaved and making contributions to society.”

Robert has always been a good athlete. He likes to ski, bowl and swim. But it wasn’t until his father, Ralph Sansaricq, 53, came up with a running injury earlier this year that Robert began to take up running seriously.

When Ralph was slowly working back into form, he took Robert along with him on runs.

“We started with one mile in April. I found he had good foot placement and a good stride,” Ralph said.

So they tried the Sean French Run later that month. Ralph, a former track standout at Iona College, was amazed at how well his son did.

Next, they entered the OK 5K race in Kinderhook, where Robert shaved off more than two-and-a-half minutes, coming in at 22:58. That was followed by the Silks-and-Satins 5K in Saratoga Springs, where he finished in 22 minutes flat.

“It’s a rare thing for a Special Olympics athlete to perform at a high level with regular runners,” Ralph said. “Everyone was applauding.”

Since then he’s run in about a dozen races and has five medals to show for it.

“I start with him, get him out in front with the top runners,” Ralph said. “We’re trying to get him to stay in front. Right now his pace is 6:30 minutes a mile. The top runners are 5 or 6 minutes a mile. He’s losing ground, but holding his own.”

Foot trails have been forged through the calf-deep snow around the Sansaricq house. Ralph dubs it the “Sansa Trail.” One circuit is a quarter-mile. Together, the father and son do four to make a mile.

Ralph varies their training regimen. One day a week they do roadwork with the Kinderhook Runners Club to get used to running in a group. Another day they’ll run on the track to develop speed. Another day they’ll run on Ostrander Road to benefit from the hill work. Another day they run on forest trails to get accustomed to different surfaces.

They run 15 to 20 miles a week over four or five days. They also try to get in one swim a week, sometimes as much as 40 laps.

“Robert’s significant impediment is in speech,” Ralph said. “It affects his motivation and his ability to imitate. So it’s important for him to have a trusted coach, a running buddy and a dad, all in one.”

What language Robert does have is largely echolalic — he will repeat things that have just been said to him, but will add his own variations.

Asked if he likes swimming, he said, “Do I like swimming? Yes.”

Asked if he likes running, he said, “Do I like running? Yes!” with a telling emphasis on running.

“It appeals to him because it’s a chance to express himself physically in a way he’s comfortable with,” Ralph said. “He loves to be outdoors. He likes trails and roads, not a track. That’s a little too regimented. He prefers to run in a natural environment. He loves Columbia County — he can’t help but respond to nature in Columbia County.”

Ralph said the experience has also created a stronger bond between father and son.

“Through Robert, I volunteered to be a Special Olympics coach,” he said. Robert helped Ralph get back in shape and Robert has become more connected, more verbal and a better student at school.

“We communicate non-verbally,” Ralph said. “I sense just where Robert’s at. There’s nothing like doing an activity with your son. This ongoing process has been a joy.”

“It’s so important to keep Robert engaged, keep him part of life,” Mary said. “We tried piano. He still does adaptive skiing and he goes to Paul Newman’s Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp every year.”

Mary is the president of the board of Special Needs in Columbia County.

“There was no Special Olympics team in Columbia County,” she said. “We’ve been looking for a team for years. I brought it to the board of Special Needs. When we first met Mark French, it solidified.”

French recently became an administrator at Special Needs.

Special Needs is now fielding teams in softball, snowshoeing, polar plunge, bowling and track and field.

“There’s so little in this county for special needs kids,” Sansaricq said. “Most of them go to Wildwood or Kingston Children’s Annex, Devereaux or Anderson. There’s nothing in the county for students to live at home with their families and get special services.”

But the Special Olympics team is “getting bigger and bigger,” she said.

“Physical engagements make for a healthier lifestyle. Autistics can languish,” she said. “But if given the opportunity to engage, they flourish.”

In July, Ralph is hoping Robert will be the first student to represent the Wildwood School in the Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile race in Albany. Ralph will run as a representative of the New York state Department of Taxation and Finance, where he is a trainer.

The pair have other plans as well. One is to break the 20-minute 5K, another is to run the half-marathon, 13.1-mile Mohawk-Hudson River Run.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Running Highlights of 2010

My Running Highlights of 2010

Top 5 running highlights of 2010

Leg 15 at Cabot Trail Relay

Cabot Trail Relay Race
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Day Run for Rapha House

It was cloud and 2 degrees.

The New Year's Day Run for Rapha House at Charlottetown Rural. The loop course on North River Rd, Belvedere Ave and University Ave.

Gary Simmonds won the race and Jill Smith for the top female.

I finished in 20:10 and came in 3rd out of 39 runners. It was the first run of 2011.

Official Result: 3rd out of 39
5K in 20 minutes, 10 seconds


Running For Autism
Not Against It
acceptance, inclusion, awareness