Toronto transit union member in Boston aiming for amputee marathoners world record



    TORONTO, April 18 /CNW/ - A long-time member of the Amalgamated Transit
Union Local 113 is in Boston preparing for Monday's 113th running of the
city's famous Marathon, where he hopes to set a new world record for amputee
marathoners.
    Rick Ball, 43, a Toronto Transit Commission Subway Mechanic from the
Orillia area, lost his left leg below his knee in a road accident in 1986. He
began running less than two years ago, when he was fitted with a new carbon
fibre prosthesis, and immediately began dreaming of running in the Boston
Marathon. By running in Toronto-area marathons, Ball qualified for Boston in
the able-bodied division, a remarkable feat for a novice amputee runner.
    The current world record for amputee marathoners is 3:04 hours. Ball's
last full marathon, last July, was finished in 3:10. Since then he has run a
number of half marathons, bettering his time in each one. To beat the world
record in Boston, he will have to shave an average of less than nine seconds
per kilometre off his personal best, something Ball feels is very possible if
the conditions are right.
    The father of two was named Orillia Athlete of the Year in February,
chosen from a field of eight strong candidates. The recognition was not just
for his running but also for the significant amount of time he spends giving
motivational talks to elementary schoolchildren, urging them to pursue their
dreams and not be discouraged by setbacks or "what others may call
disabilities." He also devotes time to informal counselling and support of
children who have undergone amputations.
    "We're very proud of Rick's running achievements and will be cheering him
on in Boston," says ATU 113 President Bob Kinnear, an early supporter who
arranged union sponsorship and intermittent time off the job for Ball so that
he could compete in races and undergo intense training.
    "But we are even more impressed with how generous he is with the time he
devotes to inspiring children to believe in themselves and counselling those
who have lost limbs, like him. He is an amazing role model and an outstanding
example of the community spirit that many other members of our union
exemplify."
    Boston runners' progress can be followed online by typing in their bib
number at www.baa.org/2009/cf/Public/EntryLists.cfm?mode=results. Ball's bib
number is 5424. The race begins at 10 a.m. EDT and, if all goes as planned, he
will be crossing the finish line just after 1:00 p.m.

    
    More on Rick Ball can be found at
    http://wemovetoronto.ca/?pid=215.
    






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For further information: For photos or more information, contact: Bill
Reno, (416) 223-7366

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113

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