Houston, TX (KTRK) — As they prepare for next week’s Houston Marathon, some athletes living with a disability aren’t allowing it to be defined.
Often times, people can become depressed by life’s challenges, and it can be difficult to find that motivation again.
But athletes with “Bee-Abled” are not. Even with their disabilities, they were able to train their minds and bodies to get the job done.
More than 20 athletes gathered at Memorial Park on Saturday for their final training day before next week’s Chevron Houston Marathon.
Jeff Chaffin is ready, but his journey into competition has been challenging.
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I was injured over 10 years ago and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
He had to find motivation to become active again.
“I’m just going to start riding,” he said. “I’m not competitive. I started to notice that just riding my bike outside made me feel better mentally and physically.”
He started getting faster and started training with other athletes with disabilities.
“I started attending more and more events and became an advocate for the sport, an ambassador, so to speak,” he said.
Since 2013, Chaffin has run 62 marathons.
“It came to me that I had to do this,” he said. “Like, it’s a part of me now.”
The group “Bee-Abled” helps athletes reach their fitness goals.
“It’s family,” said Gloria Suarez, founder and executive director of Be Abled.
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She started a group for people of all ages and disabilities.
“I want to create a place for them and let people know that life doesn’t end with injury or illness,” she said.
She knows what it’s like to feel down.
“I was very depressed for three years when I got hurt,” she said.
This group wants their drive to inspire others and not allow challenges to get in the way of their lives.
“It doesn’t have to be the (most qualified) individual,” Chaffin said. “Look at me, I’m not exactly Mr. Olympia, but I can literally change your life by putting in the time and effort to get on my bike and just spend time sitting in my seat.”
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