By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Hudson resident Owen Anketell spent the summer before his senior year of high school with a friend and his cousin on a two-month-long, nearly 2,500-mile bike ride to raise awareness of adaptive sports opportunities for people with disabilities.
Anketell, who attends Hudson High School (HHS), began his ride with his friend Matt Farrell and his cousin Bryce Coffey on weekends, starting in Northern Maine over Memorial Day weekend. The group then started riding full time on June 26, traveling from Hudson to Key West, Fla., the southernmost point in the continental U.S., by Aug. 20.
“At the start I was quite worried that I wouldn’t make it,” Anketell said. “The first week that we left full time, I was really nervous and it was really hard. But, after that, pretty much once we got out of Pennsylvania, it wasn’t too bad. We were in shape and we knew what we were getting into.”
Despite suffering from a condition that has left him with limited control of his legs, Anketell has played a variety of adaptive sports ranking from skiing to tennis to cycling. The idea for his ride sprung from those experiences in adaptive sports as he said he hoped to highlight the positive impact of adaptive sports.
As he rode, Anketell was able to speak to groups and individuals about adaptive sports. He spoke with a number of groups already providing people with adaptive sports opportunities about how to expand and better those opportunities.
In addition to the positive effect of those interactions, he hopes his ride also serves as an inspiration to others.
“I want people to see that anything is possible because there were certainly times on the trip where I thought ‘This is impossible,’ but I made it and I did it,” he said.
Anketell collected donations to help fund his ride. Now that the ride is over, he hopes he can continue his work for the nonprofit he founded – Adaptive Sports Awareness. In addition to that he hopes that, one day, he can get back on the road for a similar or, perhaps longer, ride.
“I would love to get back out there and see what else I can do,” he said. “Now that I’ve done this, why can’t I do something else?”
For more information, visit the Adaptive Sports Awareness website at adaptivesportsawareness.org.