One man's drive to compete in the Philadelphia Marathon

With the Philadelphia Marathon only two days away there is at least one competitor, who is facing the event with a new drive and a more positive spirit.

His name is Russell Selkirk and he's a two-time competitor, having also participated in the Marathon last year, but not with the same intensity he's planning this time around.

"As the levels increase the resistance increases as well," said Russ.

He trains at the North Penn YMCA in Lansdale, Pennsylvania on an ergometer, which builds his upper body strength. Russ suffered a spinal fracture in an auto crash four years ago that left him paralyzed from his hips.

"I was stopped at a traffic light behind a truck when a pick-up truck slammed me from behind and kind of sandwiched me between the two of us," added Russ.

The accident is difficult for Russ to talk about even today.

So he focuses on his training and this weekend's marathon.

"So the longer you go, the harder it's going to be to keep that same level because of endurance." said Russ.

Those who work closely with Russ in physical therapy say, his endurance has brought him great strides from the days following his accident.

Thomas Chaump of Penn Institute for Rehab Medicine says, "He's got this motivating factor inside of him that pushes him to achieve great things. It's really an amazing transition to watch..."

When Russ was asked, what has given him this spirit?

"Well I attribute a lot of that to my wife. She has been a very positive influence in my recovery," he said.

On Sunday he will compete on a hand-cycle.

"I try to get here at least twice a week and then I try to get out on my bike at least twice, sometimes three times a week. It depends on the weather," Russ stated.

Russ spends much of his time practicing on the Route 202 parkway trail, but he brought his hand-cycle to the YMCA parking lot to let Action News check it out.

He's hoping to eventually to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but first, Russ was asked, do you think you're ready for Sunday?

"Oh I'm definitely ready for Sunday," said Russ.
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