Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Ambassador Roderick Sewell Makes History at The Vega IRONMAN World Championship

October 15, 2019

Roderick Sewell became the first bi-lateral above knee amputee to finish the IRONMAN® World Championship on prosthetic legs on October 12, 2019 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i

San Diego, CA The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is proud to recognize that long-time supported athlete and spokesperson Roderick Sewell has accomplished something that no other bi-lateral above knee amputee has done before -cross the finish line at the Vega IRONMAN® World Championship after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles on a kneeler handcycle in fierce cross-winds out at the Hawi turnaround and then running a 26.2 miles (a full marathon) on his prosthetic running legs on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.  In addition to this historic accomplishment, Roderick is also the first American bi-lateral above knee amputee to finish this iconic race. Serving as an official CAF Ambassador, Roderick has been supported by CAF since he was eight years old through numerous grants for adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses. He was introduced to swimming for the first time by CAF Adaptive swim instructors Alan and Allison Voisard (who became family to him). They quickly embraced Roderick at a young age and taught him to swim at the Mission Valley YMCA in San Diego. This experience contributed to his success as an elite swimmer on Team USA. It also helped him complete the 2.4 mile open water swim on Saturday in a blazing 1:09 time. Roderick was Bib #430 and had a strong race finish time of 16:26:59.

Roderick was born missing tibias in both legs and had them amputated when he was two years old. Growing up with just his mom, she didn’t have the funds to buy Roderick walking prosthetics, so she filed for unemployment that put them in a financial bind and they ended up homeless for many years of his young life. Meeting Alan, learning to swim, the continued support from CAF and the guidance and mentorship from his close friend Rudy Garcia-Tolson who is also a bi-lateral above knee amputee and champion swimmer, changed the trajectory of his life. Rudy and CAF Co-Founder, Bob Babbitt served as Roderick’s handlers for the race and were proud to be a huge part of this major accomplishment. They were there at the finish line along with Roderick’s mother to be a part of this historic finish. “We have been working with Roderick at CAF since he was eight years old and absolutely petrified of the water. To watch this young man become an IRONMAN World Championship finisher on Saturday night is one of the true highlights of my life,” said Babbitt.

CAF is honored to share Roderick’s milestone accomplishment with partner IRONMAN who selected Roderick to be an IRONMAN Ambassador Athlete for the IRONMAN World Championship for his characteristics that go well beyond competition. We also appreciate the support of Vega who financially helped underwrite travel grants for all of the six Team CAF challenged athletes that raced and our partners Ashworth Awards, Wattie Ink and 100% Sunglasses.

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.  Since 1994, more than $112 million has been raised and over 26,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is to give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles. Learn more at challengedathletes.org.

Photo Gallery: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ps89l65cwij1t84/AAAPQAgCO8vlc5l5PC5ijmKia?dl=0

Photo credit: Donald Miralle. Instagram and Facebook: @donaldmiralle

Black and White Photo Story: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1cqsbgs0mjz6un/AABq0Bbm4677IwtrP3hoy5jca?dl=0

Photo credit: Donald Miralle. Instagram and Facebook: @donaldmiralle

Video Clips: https://www.dropbox.com/home/2019_Kona%20(1)/Roderick%20Sewell%20Media/Roderick%20Sewell%20Video%20Clips_Donald%20Miralle_for%20IRONMAN

Video Credit: “Photographer Donald Miralle for IRONMAN”.