Blind, deaf man still runs

Summarized by Rachel Cain, staff writer

When Patrick Vellia, a 28-year-old legally blind and hearing impaired man, learned about another blind and deaf individual competing in a triathlon, he knew he had to give this event a try. Ten years later, on July 20, Vellia completed the Tri! Ballantyne triathlon in 1 hour, 55:33 minutes. He spent two years training for the competition, which includes a 300-yard swim, 12.7-mile bike ride, and 5K run. A deaf blind interpreter assisted him during the transitions between the different events and a local resident rode his bike behind Vellia and ran the 5K with him to guarantee his safety. He also had a pilot, someone who is the front driver of a tandem bicycle, to steer during the biking portion. Vellia was able to complete the swim by himself by distinguishing between the different colored lanes. While Vellia plans to continue competing in 5Ks and other triathlons, his dream is to compete in an Ironman competition, which is a long-distance triathlon race.

“When he was in high school they said he couldn’t run track and that it would be impossible,” Tara Constenoble, Vellia’s sister, said. “But he doesn’t take no for an answer if he puts his mind to something.”

Read the full story here.

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