ovkxqp · 2021-09-15 0

Ball sets world record

In the brief running life of Rick Ball his ultimate dream has been realized. Competing in his first Boston Marathon – barely 20 months after taking up long distance running – the 43-year-old Orillia resident made history on Monday. “I got the record,” said Ball, a few hours after conquering the demanding, 26-mile, 385-yard Boston course. Ball, who lost part of his right leg in a 1986 motorcycle-truck accident, posted a time of 3:01:50.  In doing so, the Toronto Transit Commission mechanic shattered the single-leg amputee world record of 3:04:16, previously held by Australian Amy Palmiero-Winters. While in Boston, Ball was also attempting to break the world mark of Richard Whitehead, a double-leg amputee from England. However, Ball fell short of the 2:57:00 time set by Whitehead in March at the Rome Marathon. Ball extracted a measure of revenge on Monday in Boston, finished nearly one minute ahead of Whitehead, who posted a time of 3:02:44. With this result, Ball has automatically qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon. He said the crowd played a big part in getting him across the finish line. “I was afraid I was going to pass out and not finish. At one point, I put up my arms to the crowd and yelled bring me in, bring me in. They roared and roared so loud they nearly blew me off my feet,” said Ball. Among those cheering him on over the last few strides was his wife Stacey. “She (Stacey) saw me 200 metres from the finish line and I was white as a ghost. She knew I was going to end up in the medical tent. All I wanted was to see her,” he said. After crossing the line he headed directly for the comfort and support of a wheelchair. “There was three people working on me for 90 minutes in the medical tent,” he said.  Ball has made dramatic strides in running in a short period of time. Orillia’s Athlete of the Year for 2008, he only began running about 20 months ago under the direction of his coach Roger DePlancke. Contacted on Monday at his Orillia home, DePlancke was thrilled to see Ball realize his goal. “I think he did really well and the truth is he beat the guy who is the world record holder (Whitehead), which is just fantastic. Now he has the chance to run again in the fall on an easier course and beat Whitehead’s record,” said DePlancke, a veteran of eight Boston Marathons. As expected, the latter part of the course was the toughest. “Heartbreak Hill beat the crap out of me out there. That’s where I hit the wall,” said Ball, referring to the steep series of hills located along the latter part of the Boston course. In the end, the race left him physically and mentally drained. “I had four bottles of water and four bottles of Gatorade and never went to the washroom after the race. I was that dehydrated after the race,” said Ball. While in Boston, Ball turned into something of a media celebrity, conducting interviews with various major North American daily newspapers, while also appearing on CBC Radio.