Health and Fitness Column

N.C. man sets 5K record on crutches

By John Taylor | Dec 17, 2013
Photo by: File John Taylor

Lane Hinnant, a competitive distance runner from Wilson, North Carolina, set the world record for completing a 5K run on crutches in the Wilson Triathlon Club’s Jingle Bell Run 5K on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Hinnant, who was recovering from a broken leg, attempted the feat for his two daughters, both of whom who have cystic fibrosis.
“I tried to think of the girls the whole time,” Hinnant said. “I knew the pain was nothing compared to what they go through each day.”
Hinnant said that he originally was trying to help his wife, Melissa, prepare for the Jingle Bell Run’s 1-mile fun run, but then his competitive nature started to rise up.
“I thought, ‘You know, I bet I could do this race on crutches,’” Hinnant told The Wilson Times. “I was probably a little overcompetitive.”
Out of curiosity, Hinnant looked up the Guinness Book of World Records for running on crutches and discovered there wasn’t a 5K category. He contacted the Guinness organization and asked if the group would certify his feat.
“They agreed to do it and sent me the requirements,” Hinnant said, explaining that he tied his leg to his backpack to ensure it wouldn’t touch the ground and disqualify his attempt. “When I first contacted them, I was still on crutches. By the time they got back to me, I was already off the crutches.”
Guinness gave Hinnant a 90-minute time limit. He maintained a decent pace and finished in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 50 seconds
“I knew I could probably do it in under an hour, but I thought I might fall and then I would have to start all over again in another race,” Hinnant said.  “I hope I’ve spent my last day on crutches. It’s a good way to go out, though. It was a perfect way to spend my last day on crutches.”
Hinnant isn’t sure the mark will stand long enough to be printed in the “Guinness Book of World Records,” and he has no plans to reclaim the record after it’s broken.
“When they break it, I’m the former world-record holder,” he said. “They could break it tomorrow, but I’m always the first.”
Running competitively isn’t anything new for the Hinnants. Lane was on the Campbell University college track and field team, his wife, Melissa, ran cross-country in college, and their 5-year-old daughter, Angelina, recently finished her first junior triathlon.
“Exercise is a part of their therapy as well,” Hinnant said. “We really just wanted to get back into it to kind of lead by example for our daughters and help inspire them.”
Angelina was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 18-months-old. She and her sister, Alaina, have each required visits to the University of North Carolina Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, but the girls are both living normal.
Cystic fibrosis affects the lungs and digestive system, causing the body to produce thick mucus that clogs the lungs and obstructs the pancreas. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 30,000 adults and children in the United States are diagnosed with CF, and patients’ median predicted age is in the early 40s.
Hinnant stated he was running the 5K on crutches to raise awareness of the disease. Supporters donated several hundred dollars to the Bethesda, Maryland-based nonprofit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in recognition of the effort.
In May, the 5-year-old will begin a medication regimen that costs about $25,000 per month.
Hinnant said his health insurance and support from his family helps cover the cost of treatment, so he’s not seeking donations for his daughter’s care. Instead, he used the world-record attempt as a fundraiser for the national nonprofit, which is working to find a cure.
This is another example of how fitness and exercise can be used to bring attention to a worthwhile cause. Sure, we can contribute money toward charitable organizations through the computer or while sitting down and talking on the phone. But let’s get real, isn’t the impact of a person running a 5K on crutches more admirable than sitting on the couch to donate charitable contributions?
Sure, both are admirable, but like the case of the Hinnant family, wouldn’t it be more ideal to engage in charitable endeavors while getting into better shape and improving your health-related fitness?

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