May 2, 2017
BALTIMORE, MD — James Banks, a 19 year old from Baltimore, MD who is living with cerebral palsy and scoliosis, will participate in the 2017 IRONMAN Boulder 140.3 triathlon on Sunday, June 11th. James has competed in the sport of triathlon for over 8 years with the help of Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA), a non-profit organization that empowers athletes living with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events.
The race will take place at the foot of the Flatiron Mountains in Boulder, CO and will include a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Despite his confinement to a wheelchair since birth, with extremely limited mobility, James will compete with the assistance of an ASA volunteer known as a “WingMan.” This WingMan will help James cross the finish line by towing him across the water in a custom-designed harness and raft, riding with him in a specially equipped bicycle and pushing him in a custom-built ASA racing chair. James’s WingMan for this event will be ASA’s founder and executive director, David Slomkowski.
“James Banks was ASA’s first athlete and his race record would be impressive for anyone, let alone someone with James’s unique abilities,” said Slomkowski. “To our knowledge no athlete with cerebral palsy and scoliosis from Maryland has ever attempted or completed such physically demanding distances. I consider racing with James one of the greatest privileges in my life.”
This will be James’s first attempt at a full IronMan distance triathlon. Over the last 10 years, James has competed in over 100 multi-sport events, including eight full marathons, four sprint triathlons, 4 olympic distance triathlons, and 3 half Ironman distance triathlons.
“Individuals with James' challenges have extremely limited opportunities to engage in basic every day activities. To see all of the hard work and perseverance James has given over the last eight years to get to this level is beyond my wildest dreams and expectations,” explained Chiffon Edmunds, James mother. “ASA gives James opportunities to live life to the fullest. We are thrilled that he has this chance to participate in this incredible experience”.
James is a featured athlete in ASA’s new book, “Together We Finish” created by Todd Civin and illustrated by Jason Boucher. James was also spotlighted in USA Triathlon Magazine’s fall of 2016 edition (member’s corner).
Team James and ASA are sponsored by The World Champion Baltimore Ravens, Kelly and Associates Insurance Group/KELLY Payroll (KELLY), Melalueca Wellness Company, Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Group, and RBC Wealth Management along with several private grantors along with a grant from USA Triathlon Foundation. Professional coaching services provided by Suzy Serpico of Rip It Events Coaching.
About Athletes Serving Athletes
Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) is a non-profit organization serving the Mid Atlantic Region that empowers athletes living with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events. Most ASA athletes have very limited to no mobility and compete with the assistance of able bodied volunteers termed “WingMen” (men and women, young and old, fast and slow). ASA offers innovative athletic training, supportive mentor relationships, and high quality endurance events for athletes living with disabilities – all of which are free of charge to the individuals and families served.