Quadriplegic man qualifies to compete in 2017 Hawaiian Ironman event

Sid James poses with able-bodied teammate Kevin Fergusson. Source: Facebook

It’s a story that is unbelievable as it is uplifting, but for one South Australian man it’s as real as it gets. Meet Sid James, a 58-year old man from the town of Victor Harbor.

Over two decades in 1993, Sid became a quadriplegic following a bike accident. As fate would have it, that same year he had been training to compete in his first-ever Ironman contest, but the accident ruined those hopes.

However, a miracle has now truly happened for Sid, with news that he has qualified for the Hawaii Ironman event, due to take place in March 2017.

Sid won’t be alone – in order to compete, he’ll be receiving plenty of help from one of his closest friends. Able-bodied mate Kevin Fergusson, himself a veteran Ironman competitor, will tow Sid in three of the Ironman diciplines.

Kevin has spent 12 years competing at Ironman events, participating in over 30. His career has seen him participate in events throughout Australia, and also in New Zealand, Borneo, Phuket, Hawaii and Canada.

However, towing Sid in Hawaii next year will be a first for him – but that hasn’t stopped him from taking the opportunity to help his mate. “When I thought about doing this I knew it had been done before, so why not,” Kevin said.

For the swim leg of the event, Kevin will wear a harness and tow a kayak with Sid in it for 3.8 kilometres. Meanwhile, for the running and cycling sections, he plans to tow Sid in a specially made wheelchair – for a distance of 26 miles in the run and 50 miles in the ride.

“I have achieved my personal goals and now it is time to give something back. I lost my mother to cancer and my father drowned at 55-years-old, so I decided to raise $55,000 for cancer research,” Kevin said.

Sid added: “Kevin came to me and told me his plan. If I get the chance, which is no way guaranteed, I should take it, because my body is deteriorating very quickly. Kevin is a one in a million! He and I have been close since the early days when we were racing together. I would have never thought he would, or anyone else, could get me around an Ironman course.

“I was overwhelmed when he told me, surely must be a joke, then tears followed. He is a very good friend and they say friends look after friends.”