With just a couple weeks to prepare following surgeries that kept him on the couch for months over the summer, Santa Cruz resident Erik Edmonds — a paraplegic who competes in a special “running” wheelchair — finished the Santa Barbara International Marathon in 23rd place overall on Saturday.
Edmonds won the wheelchair division as the only entrant for the second straight year. He crossed the finish line after 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 57 minutes, 40.7 seconds — just a few minutes off his 2011 time of 2:53:21.5.
Edmonds, 32, lost the ability to walk when his spinal cord was damaged in a single-car accident in 2001 and is paralyzed from his upper-middle back down. He continues to suffer from neuropathic pain, which worsens when he is sedentary and makes him feel as though the left side of his body from his hip down is on fire.
In part in an effort to combat that pain and in part because of his competitive nature and drive, Edmonds has been competing in marathon and triathlon the past couple years and is itching to get back in the water for triathlon.
“I had 2 more ankle surgeries starting in June that kept me on my couch for almost 4 months. It really sucked,” Edmonds wrote in an email. ”It looks like the surgeries went OK but I am still unable to go in the water. So in the mean time I am cycling and running, waiting for the green light to get back in the ocean.”
Abraham Kogo of Kenya won the marathon in 2:23:09.7.