This Kalamazoo resident has been training hard to get to the Boston Marathon.  What an amazing story.

Nick is just 20 years old.  He's been training at Planet Fitness to accomplish some pretty amazing goals.  To say that his disability doesn't slow him down would be a huge understatement.  I could tell you more but I'd rather let Nick tell you in his own words,

My name is Nick Nieboer.  I am a 20 year old who was born and raised in Kalamazoo. I have a condition called Spina Bifida, which means I was born with a defect in my spinal cord and therefore I am paralyzed from the waist down. Despite my disability, I have a love of sports and have been blessed with a very strong upper body, and a determined, competitive spirit. I have participated in wheelchair basketball and tennis, but due to the anxiety and motor tics I began dealing with a few years ago, I needed to find a sport that was more individual so I began to try hand cycling.  I found this to be a great way for me to stay active, and it also was somewhat therapeutic for me.

 

I have since become very passionate about hand cycling and this past year I began training so I could participate in several races. I soon began to realize that I needed to find a way to get a racing bike if I really wanted to be competitive in this field. I worked very hard and managed to raise the money for a $7000 bike that was custom made for me. I finally had the opportunity to participate in a couple of shorter races, a 10 Mile in Flint, MI and a 5K in Hart, MI.  I placed in the top 5 in both races, which gave me added motivation to keep training and set my sights on my first marathon race in Grand Rapids, MI.  I raced in October and was thrilled to come in second place and be one of the two racers who broke the record time for that race. I soon found out that because of my time  (1 hour and 35 minutes), I had qualified for the Boston Marathon.  I was so excited!  I view the Boston Marathon as a stepping stone in making my dream of getting to the Paralympics someday a reality, hopefully in Paris in 2024.


 

You can meet Nick in person as 103.3 KFR is live at the Planet Fitness on Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo this Friday (Feb, 15th) from 4-6 PM.  Let's help Planet Fitness get this phenomenal local athlete to the Boston Marathon!