Safety on course

First Posted: 10/14/2014

Hand cyclists, who raced in the Steamtown Marathon on Oct. 12, had special escorts, thanks to volunteers from Allied Services Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital in Wilkes Barre. This team of 13 people rode on bikes alongside and in front of hand cycle athletes, ensuring their safety throughout the 26.2 miles. The team included volunteers with experience of the Steamtown Marathon and other wheelchair-accessible races and involved three to four escorts to each cyclist.

Cyclist Chris Claude, of Blakeslee, was escorted by volunteers Larry Zaykowski, of Shavertown, Bob Wendoloski and his wife, Irene .

“They are all amazing,” Claude said about about the cyclists. “They kept me motivated the entire time. They’re terrific people.”

Claude has cycled at the Marine Corps Marathon, Pittsburgh Marathon and the New York City Marathon. This is the first time he participated in the Steamtown Marathon.

Zaykowski, who is employed by Verizon, volunteered for cancer walks in the past because he is a cancer survivor.

“I like to see people smile and accomplish their goals,” he said.

Volunteer Matt Banford, an occupational therapist at the Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital, participated in the Steamtown Marathon for the second year.

“I like to see their effort,” he said of the cyclists. “It’s fun to ride with them.”

Mike Rawls, who is in materials management at the Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital, is a volunteer cyclist and an avid runner. He is no stranger to the Steamtown Marathon.

“I did the first seven Steamtown Marathons in a row,” he said. “I took a break. I did it again for two years. I enjoyed it.”

Rawls has been running for 40 years and has run in seven Boston Marathons , 11 Ocean State Marathons in Rhode Island and also took part of Ryan’s Run in Scranton.

The marathon also offered entertainment on Lackawanna Square. Tom Rogo, owner of Abington Music at Duffy’s Café in Clarks Summit, sang and played guitar with singer Lori Prussia, a teacher of Abington Music.

“Allied Services is dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and life-changing injuries,” said Charlotte Wright, Director of Special Events & External Affairs at Allied Services. “Our staff and volunteers are inspired by these athletes competing in the marathon, a physical feat that only a small percentage of people will ever achieve in their lifetime.”

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