Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Paratriathlon National Championships returns to Austin

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published January 10, 2014

One of the most inspiring things I did last year was watch athletes compete in the Paratriathlon National Championships, part of the Life Time Tri CapTex.

Amputees ran on specially designed prosthetic blades. Blind athletes ran alongside sighted guides. One woman, who was unable to lift her foot, struggled mightily the last 100 yards to get over a curb and under the banner. Pure determination got her there, and she was so exhausted she collapsed.

Austin has hosted the championships the last two years. Officials announced this week that the event will once again take place here in 2014.

Go watch. Really. Stand at the finish line and consider for a moment how hard it is for an able-bodied person to finish a triathlon. Then look at the folks streaming past. They don’t let anything stop them. It’ll fire you up for days. It still gives me chills.

This year’s race is scheduled for May 26, Memorial Day.

Participants will swim 750 meters, bike 20 kilometers and run 5 kilometers in the sprint distance course.

The race is the first of three U.S. paratriathlon competitions in 2014. The Pan American Triathlon Confederation Championships are set for June 1 in Dallas and the Chicago ITU World Paratriathlon Event is scheduled for June 28-29.

Paratriathlon will debut at the Paralympic Summer Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. For more information about paratriathlon go to

For more on the 2013 USA Paratriathlon National Championships, go to