Man With Muscular Dystrophy Works To Become Champion Triathlete

LOCH RAVEN, Md. (WJZ) — On any weekend, tens of thousands of athletes will line up and test themselves in triathlons. Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a group of three athletes is helping one young man make it through a triathlon.

David Slomkowski likes to ride but never raced. An athlete in college, Ben Mortenson ran track, but stopped competing. Then they met Shane Lauer, now 19. Shane developed muscular dystrophy as a child. It’s terminal; most people like him die in their mid-twenties.

But Shane’s not going without a fight. He’s ridden on a bike, been towed behind a raft and has rolled through a dozen triathlons.

“It’s a struggle for them to be in a race. They’re in the hot sun, they’re putting themselves in peril. These are dangerous races,” said Steve Moritz.

At the Columbia tri, the team came in first in their division and got an invitaton to Iowa.

“It’s the US national championship,” Mortenson said.

With Chip Connor towing the boat, these have been hard-earned miles and a well-deserved invitation.

“I get so much more out of it in powering someone like Shane to compete in something he otherwise would probably not have that opportunity,” Slomkowski said.

“You’re no longer participating in these athletic events for yorself. You’re doing it for others and that just gives you some kind of thrill and some juice that you’d never have if you’re just out there running for yourself,” Moritz said.

“When i’m struggling, Shane is there encouraging me, saying, `You got this,’ and it makes me realize this is a gift,” Mortenson said.

There’s nothing wrong with Shane’s mind, yet his disease is slowly taking his speech.

“I like competing,” Shane said.

His next competition is to find the rest of the money to make it to Iowa for the nationals. Right now, of the $10,000 they need, they have $7,000 raised. The triathlon is on September 2.

Later this year, Shane Lauer hopes to be the second to race in a full Iron Man. For more information, click here.

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