New York Medical College

Community Connection Race for rehab

Physical therapy students celebrate tenth annual Race for Rehab

More than 125 participants of all ages and abilities enjoyed the bright ­sunshine and crisp air as they ran, walked and cycled the 5K and 10K routes around the Valhalla campus at the tenth annual Race for Rehab, hosted by the doctor of physical therapy students in the School of Public Health. Proceeds from the October 12 race—$5,500—were donated to the Achilles Track Club (ATC), a world-wide organization that encourages people with ­physical challenges to ­participate in running events, regardless of speed, level of ability or age. The group aims to enable people with all types of ­disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics, promote personal achievement, enhance self esteem, and lower barriers.

A decade ago the Race for Rehab began as a community service project conceptualized and coordinated by a group of physical therapy students to raise money for rehabilitation therapies. Over the years it has become a fall tradition eagerly anticipated by the College community and members of the ATC. To date the event has raised nearly $40,000 for ATC and has seen its fair share of prominent ­participants including marathoners, paralympians and Trisha Meili who was known as the Central Park Jogger.

This year the field included amputees, transplant recipients, and competitors with visual and  haring impairments. Among them was Ben Simmons, a 34-year-old Englishman who was born with a rare birth defect that resulted in amputation of his left leg above the knee at age 11. The Race for Rehab was just a warm-up for him—he went on to complete the New York City Marathon in November in just under five hours.

“The students do this to demonstrate their ­commitment to provide access to physical activities ­regardless of physical limitations, and their ­dedication to community service,” said race faculty advisor Janet Dolot, P.T., D.P.T., assistant professor of clinical therapy and director of clinical education in the Department of Physical Therapy.

The students begin their preparations long before race day, hosting bake sales and social events at local establishments to raise money for the cause. During the race they hand out water, cheer on the racers and don’t let their enthusiasm to dwindle a bit until the last participant crosses the finish line. Then they begin to think about next year’s Race for Rehab.