When opportunity comes knocking at your door, nothing can get in your way if you put your all into it. In the case of Chelsea McClammer, the opportunity to play tennis was given to her at age six after she was in a car accident. The help of a local member of the community introduced McClammer to a world of athletics that she might have never known of. We were able to speak with McClammer at the Meet The Marathoners event where she came from the University of Illinois to “encourage young up-and-comers to try athletics.” In a domino effect, McClammer is giving others the opportunity and inspiration that she was given as a young child in hopes that someone can discover their dreams.
This year McClammer raced in the Boston Marathon as a wheelchair racer. Hard work, determination, and support from her coach led her to the Chicago Marathon a few years back and then she was hooked. “I went to Chicago and did the Chicago Marathon and loved it. I didn’t qualify for Boston that year but I kept training and pushing really hard putting in 100 plus miles a week.” Chelsea went on to race the London Marathon on April 24, and she has already qualified for the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team in the marathon. Unlike runners, wheelchair racers can be successful in both the track events and marathon at an event like the Paralympics, so in June McClammer will compete in the U.S. Paralympic Team track & field trials in Charlotte, NC. When asked how she prepares for all these strenuous events, McClammer answered simply, “Just a lot of training. It’s about the only way I can prepare.” However the only way to endure hours of training is if you enjoy the work. Luckily in McClammer’s case, she has fun competing and bonding with her teammates. Her team and Coach Adam Bleakney are very supportive which allows her to succeed in the world of adaptive sports. Coach Bleakney himself has also been awarded Best Paralympic Coach in the country.
The strong foundation and early introduction in her childhood prepared McClammer for success. She’s had the support of her community and teammates which allows her to focus on being her best. If you’re looking for similar opportunities to join the world of adaptive sports, contact us! We’d love to have young athletes become a part of the Adaptive Sports New England and Paralympic Sports Club team.