Friday, May 27, 2016
Ashli Molinero D’04 won the Pittsburgh Marathon’s wheelchair and handcycle division this May for the fifth consecutive year. As a person with spina bifida, Molinero began training on a handcycle to keep herself healthy and in shape. Her first marathon in 2012 was a training goal to keep herself motived, but she didn’t expect to become an avid handcyclist.
“I was hooked after the first one. Then, as I started to compete and travel across the country, I kept going because of the people I was meeting,” says Molinero, director of the UPMC Disability Resource Center. “Locally and nationally, the handcycling community is one of the kindest, most encouraging communities I’ve ever been a part of, all while maintaining that competitiveness that drives each of us individually.”
Molinero, recently profiled in Foundations magazine, has participated in races all over the country from LA, Miami, and Boston all the way to the most challenging event she’s participated in, the Alaska Challenge. This staged race is 258 miles across Alaska from Fairbanks to Anchorage and takes place over a course of five days. Molinero was one of the two women the last time she participated in the race, and she received the Countermarch Award, which is given to the competitor who embodies the spirit of the sport from the other participants.
“Nothing is accomplished without support of others, no matter how big or small the task is,” says Molinero. “Understanding that everyone has something unique to contribute is paramount when team building and establishing goals.”
By Michelle Emanuele '14