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Wheeling toward victory: Eldon Roush shines as only Para athlete at Kansas City Triathlon

'I don't really feel like I have any limits'
Posted at 11:44 AM, May 19, 2024

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — Sunday morning, athletes from all over the Kansas City area kicked off the racing season at the Kansas City Triathlon.

The event was Eldon Roush's first triathlon.

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“I was a very competitive bicycle racer,” Roush said. “Traveled around the good part of the U.S. doing races.”

This changed in 2007.

“I had a crash, where I went off into a ditch and landed on the back of my neck and fractured my C6, C7 vertebra,” he said.

The crash left him dependent on a wheelchair but not confined to it.

“I don't really feel like I have any limits," Roush said. "I've gotten into the hand cycling, I've continued to swim, do just about everything. I just don't do it on two legs most of the time."

His daughter has the same competitive gene.

“She started getting into triathlons and she's like, ‘Hey, dad, why don't you get into triathlons?’ So, I was like, ‘Okay, well, let's try it,’” Roush said.

Roush was the only Para athlete who competed in the Kansas City Triathlon. He said he doesn’t know of any others in the area.

“I kind of had to do a lot of research to find out how to do the equipment that I needed, what I had to do, how to train for it,” he said.

By learning this alone, he realized other Para athletes could use his help.

“There's a lot of handicapped athletes out there that would love to do this stuff and maybe just don't have the information and would like to try it. I'd love to try to help them out if I can,” Roush said.

Roush said before he gets ahead of himself, his "overall goal for this weekend is just to complete and finish the course."

But with his daughter by his side, his confidence is high.

“I believe that if you want to do it, you can do it," he said. "I'm not gonna say it's gonna be easy, you just gotta get out there."

The Kansas City Sports Commission said there were around 350 people in the sprint triathlon, in which Roush competed.