One of the most rewarding projects I had in 2015 was documenting the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Spinal Cord Injury Center’s hand cycling team training and competing in the Baltimore Running Festival. I spent 4 days during the month of October documenting their training rides and marathon day. Our goal was to show their patients as athletes. You think this would be obvious, but after talking with Erin and the team throughout the planning process, the general public doesn’t see their work, dedication, and that they are in fact athletes because they spend their days in a wheelchair. We wanted to change that.
For those of you who haven’t been in Baltimore for a Marathon Day, you are missing out because it’s amazing. People line the streets to watch thousands file by while in agony, usually beer in hand; Em and I live right on the Marathon’s path; our neighbors also throw a great party. It’s definitely worth experiencing in person.
Some of them have raced (running to dirt bikes) before their injury, while others have found it as an outlet after injury. Most of the racers are mechanically inclined due to constant fixing issues with their chairs or bikes to solve daily life issues. There’s something about working with these athletes that I have yet to articulate well, other than I’m always truly inspired by their attitude, work ethic and determination.
Tomorrow I’ll share the studio portraits of the team. Here’s a link to the full story – http://www.ebrianschneider.com/handcycle/