Paralympian Brings it Home for America

Deborah Hansen Contributor
Paralympian Brings it Home for America
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The winner of the October 2018 Chicago Marathon in his division.

The winner of the New York Marathon immediately after that, the first American man to do so.

The first American to win the Boston Marathon (April 2019) since 1993 and the youngest ever at age 20.

And it was all accomplished in a push-rim wheelchair.

Meet Daniel Romanchuk, a student at Parkland Community College, in Champaign, Illinois. Born with spina bifida in Mt. Airy, Maryland, Daniel started training in an adaptive sports program in the Baltimore area when he was only 2.

The Kennedy Kreiger Institute’s Bennett Blazers Physically Challenged Sports Program is designed to train young athletes on how to compete but also to teach them how to live outside their sport. Through that program, Daniel met another push-rim wheelchair athlete, 30-year old Tatyana McFadden, who became a friend and mentor.

“It’s a great program, not only for sports, but just generally how to live on your own eventually,” Romanchuk said.  “… We were a little bit separated in age, but [McFadden] had mentored me and it has been a wonderful time.”

Through that relationship, Romanchuk has become a dedicated believer in mentoring younger athletes in his sport and in life. He wants to mentor and encourage younger athletes to get involved in something they love, in the same way he was motivated by others.

“I would say it has been a dream to become a mentor and inspire people to, no matter what level they will end up at, get involved in something that they love,” he said. “It’s just kind of been a dream to get to where I am and to inspire people to go out, just do a marathon, not necessarily win it, but just go out.”

Romanchuk allowed himself a day to savor his win. “Winning all three majors on American soil has been wonderful. There’s just no other way to describe it,” he said.

Then in true Olympian style, he boarded a plane for the London Marathon on April 28th.

He won that one, too.

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Photo: 2017 London Marathon – World ParaAthletics Marathon World Cup (Wheelchair) – Daniel Romanchuk