Friendship even better than finish line for Winnipeg teen with cerebral palsy

Allie Onslow found her place in the Winnipeg marathon season with My Team Triumph. The 17-year-old teen with cerebral palsy is able to race with the aid of a specialty wheelchair and able-bodied runner pushing from behind.

My Team Triumph pairs able-bodied runners with wheelchair users for winning combination

Carl Seier and Allie Onslow one of their weekly training days. The two compete in Manitoba races as members of My Team Triumph.

Winter streets are bumpy for Allie Onslow's wheelchair when she heads out for a run with Carl Seier, but sometimes the real barrier to their five kilometre trek is their stomachs.

"Sometimes we run by a Tim Hortons and think donuts are better than running so we stop," said Seier.

"Donuts are good," agreed Onslow.

Onslow and Seier are part of My Team Triumph, an organization with a big presence in the United States, and one Seier wanted to see here. It pairs able-bodied runners with people in wheelchairs who would be otherwise unable to participate in the race.

Carl Seier and Allie Onslow compete in races such as the Manitoba Marathon. Seier wants to grow My Team Triumph, an organization that pairs able-bodied runners with people in wheelchairs as race companions. (Courtesy of My Team Triumph)

Each team consists of a captain and an angel. In this pair's case, Onslow, who lives with cerebral palsy, is the captain.

"It's been eye-opening to me," said Seier of his friendship with Onslow. "When I started the program, I didn't know anybody with disabilities, and I'm actually trying to train myself to not use that word. It's not about political correctness. I think it's more about embracing all kinds of diversities."

In fall 2015 Seier and Onslow ran the Color Vibe race where racers are doused in paint. They're signed up for a similar race this spring.

Onslow and Seier completed their first race together at the Manitoba Marathon in 2014 and have trained together ever since. Allie loves the weekly outings.

"It makes me cry a little bit in my heart."

She said they're happy tears because of the opportunity to be healthy.

Right now My Team Triumph has three racing wheelchairs, but Seier wants to see the team grow.

"I'd love to see us have 20 captains at the front row of the Manitoba Marathon," said Seier. "I'd like to buy more bike trailers and boats so we can have a stronger presence in the triathlon community as well."

Allie is excited about the upcoming Colour Me Rad event in May, a fun run where runners are doused in paint throughout the race.

Seier is also looking forward to the race and is trying not to think too much about cleaning the wheelchair at the finish line.


Access Denied is a CBC Manitoba series exploring accessibility for people with disabilities in Winnipeg. If you have a story you want to share, email kim.kaschor@cbc.ca.

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