Courtney Washer of Sherman was surrounded by runners when she came off the first turn of the Noble Stadium track.


Courtney Washer of Sherman was surrounded by runners when she came off the first turn of the Noble Stadium track.

As she went down the backstretch, the runners were farther ahead of her, and an Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy volunteer was there to urge on Washer, even if it meant using her arms to finish.

She actually used her arms the entire race. Washer competed in the 5-kilometer run Sunday — and finished, by the way — in a wheelchair.

It’s the first time the 30-year-old fifth-grade teacher’s assistant, who’s never been able to walk, has competed in a wheelchair. She’s used a hand cycle in marathons and half-marathons, but she’s training to do a marathon in a standard wheelchair.

Washer took part in the A2A “just to show people it can be done,” she said. “Although you’re in a wheelchair, you can participate.”

Using a three-wheel hand cycle requires more pulling than in a wheelchair, where Washer has to continuously push with her arms.

“Rolling on this track was tough; it was like rolling on a thick carpet,” Washer said. The 13-year-old track is made of rubber.

Washer’s time was 57 minutes, 27 seconds, good for 317th out of 329 women in the 5K. But, hey, she finished.

Almost Boston
Goño Enriquez did it. His older brother came close, but still plans to do it.

Julio Enriquez, 33, missed out on qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 3 minutes, 8 seconds. But the Ardmore restaurant cook improved his personal best, finishing sixth in the A2A marathon with a time of 3 hours, 13 minutes, 8 seconds.

“I was on time to qualify, but the last mile killed me,” he said. “I just lost all my energy. This was a hard course.”

Julio Enriquez said he wasn’t disappointed about missing the standard, knowing he can try again April 25 at the Oklahoma City Memorial marathon. His previous personal best was 3 hours, 19 minutes.

Goño Enriquez, 25, was 35th Sunday, finishing in 3:55:04 while battling a leg injury. He qualified for Boston last fall in Lawton.

Radiology techs stay the course
A group of radiology technicians from Mercy Memorial Health Center came together to give 5K running a try. Ten of them finished the race, including Chera Upshaw.

“It was amazing,” she said. “It was more adrenaline than I expected.”

Upshaw, 31, was the fastest of the radiology techs, finishing in 29:31 for seventh place. The techs called themselves “The Skeleton Crew” — since they see many skeletons in their line of work.
“I feel like I accomplished something,” she said. “I finished without stopping.”

Eleven “Skeleton Crew” members trained, but one didn’t run Sunday due to a prior commitment, Upshaw said.

The A2A benefited construction of a cancer center at Mercy Memorial. A2A director Alison Smalley said 1,205 runners registered for the three races combined.

I.C. Murrell
221-6527