Last fall, a local member of my running club had reached out asking if someone could push his wheelchair for an easy 3 mile route we do on Thursday nights. My partner and I took offered to take turns with our stroller and the wheelchair, pushing Brendon for our usual 3 mile route. Little did I know, saying yes would blossom into a friendship and now I am part of Brendon's race team with our local Ainsley's Angels chapter for adaptive athletes.
I recently pushed Brendon for the Ainsley's Angels 10k in Jacksonville, NC with another friend of ours. I was so inspired by Brendon's positivity, his charisma, and his advocacy efforts for other disabled individuals that I asked him if he would like to be featured on my blog this month. Here is my interview with Brendon:
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Brendon, I am 33 years old. I have lived in New Bern, NC for 10 years. We moved here from Massachusetts. I got my education here in North Carolina at Carven Community College and a Bachelors degree from East Carolina University. I have a good sense of humor and enjoy going out and having fun with friends.
Photo Credit: Laura Shuler on behalf of Ainsely's Angels
How did you get into the sport of running?
I got into running through Ainsley's Angels. I met a lady that told me about Ainsely's. I did my first race in 2017, the Run with your Heart race in Jacksonville. I really liked doing the races and had fun with the runners who pushed me in the race. They treated me like a smart person that just wanted to enjoy a race.
What has been your favorite race so far?
My favorite so far has been the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately it rained really hard for most of the race, so we didn't stop much to look at the sites. The sun came out with about 2 miles left in the race. I still had a good time. We finished in 4 hours and 44 minutes.
Photo shared by Brendon Hildreth
If you had any advice for adaptive athlete what would it be?
Never give up. You can do anything you work at. Every body has a gift or ability to share.
What quote or mantra do you live by?
"Never give up".
Other cool facts about Brendon are that he has dedicated his career to helping others with disabilities, especially those who use wheelchairs to have access to public spaces through a project called the Accessible Icon Project (https://accessibleicon.org) . Brendon also works with state and local government in an advocacy role as well. He has an ability to inspire those around him in all that he does. Brendon was able to illicit change with our local government building after he was invited to give a presentation and he couldn't even access the building due to lack of reasonable accommodations for his wheelchair. They are now doing construction to improve the public spaces here in our county!
Team Brendon will be racing again for a half marathon here in New Bern- the New Bern Beat the Bridge Run.