Canadian sets new record for CRBR wheelchair division

Alex Dupont (Brian Troutman/WCIV)

By Brian

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Journalists had to break into sprint to catch him.

Canadian Alex Dupont won the wheelchair division of the Cooper River Bridge Run Saturday in what the race announcer at the finish line said was a course record, 25:42. Once he broke the ribbon, he kept the pace, down Meeting Street and onto Calhoun.

Had the out-of-breath winner not struggled a bit to navigate through the crowd and get his three-wheeled racing machine on the curb, local journalists may have never gotten an interview. He admitted, he tried to get away.

Dupont, who is currently the 10th-ranked 800 meter paralympic sprinter in the world, competed in the bridge run for the first time Saturday. He wasn't disappointed.

"The bridge, the incline, it's tough," he said. "The decline is easy, you just coast downhill. That one's (the bridge) tough. It's pretty steep, and it's never-ending. It seems short when you are in your car. But I'll tell you, when you are running about six miles per hour, climbing it, it's a long time."

While runners say the late start had little effect on the elite field, Dupont said the opposite about his race. Had things started a little earlier, the wheelchair division might have avoided the wind. The wind, coupled with the obvious difficulty of managing the incline of the bridge, ultimately led to more delays for runners and walkers as about a half dozen wheelchair division participants struggled to make it across the Cooper River. One of the chairs even lost the treading on a wheel.

"The wind picked up quite a bit, so we had a strong headwind the whole time," Dupont said. "If we could have gone early, when there was no wind, the time could have been much faster."

In the end, Dupont said he made the best of it.

"It was a good race," he said. "...You do what you can do."