On Sunday Tyler Walker and Laurie Stevens summited Mt. Washington for the 5th annual Sunrise Ascent to benefit the Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country, a Franconia-based organization that provides year-round recreation for people with disabilities.
Both are world-class athletes (Walker is the defending paralympic skiing World Cup Champion and Stevens is a six-time paralympic medalist) who made the torturous journey to the 6,288 foot summit as part of the ASPNC's first unassisted "Endurance Challenge" for elite competitors.
The duo pushed themselves 7.6 miles, in wheelchairs, in just under seven hours. They also helped to raise $63,000 for Adaptive Sports Partners.
And, according to the report by Littleton Record Managing Editor Paul Hayes, "The addition of the Endurance Challenge did more than raise money. It lifted the spirits of the nearly 200 staff, volunteers and other disabled participants in this year's Sunrise Ascent."
Said ASPNC Executive Director Sandy Olney - "Watching them push and push and push up those pitches was a really powerful experience... To see what they were putting into it -- and the strength, endurance and abilities they have -- was phenomenal."
After watching video coverage of the event by Hayes, we can safely say that "phenomenal" may be an understatement. And as if the story wasn't motivational enough, listen to what a battered and exhausted Stevens said at the summit:
"I've never been up here before. And what better way to do it than pushing yourself up?"