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Feature Stories April 4, 2013  RSS feed

Cerebral Palsy Can’t Stop This Marathon Man’s Race

Kew Gardens Resident Ran 28 Races
by Max Jaeger


Bill “Backward Bill” Reilly will be competing in the Boston Marathon, Apr. 15. Though Reilly suffers from severe Cerebral Palsy, he has participated in nearly 30 marathons, using his feet to propel his wheelchair across the finish line each time. Bill “Backward Bill” Reilly will be competing in the Boston Marathon, Apr. 15. Though Reilly suffers from severe Cerebral Palsy, he has participated in nearly 30 marathons, using his feet to propel his wheelchair across the finish line each time. A Kew Gardens man with cerebral palsy will compete in the Boston Marathon on Monday, Apr. 15, as a member of Achilles International.

Bill Reilly—also known as “Backward Bill” for his unorthodox racing style—will compete in the marathon in his wheelchair, riding backwards and propelling himself with his feet.

Though his arms barely function and he has diminished leg strength, Reilly has been able to compete in more than 28 marathons, including the Cerebral Palsy World Games in 1982 and 2005, as well as the International Games for the Disabled in 1984.

Reilly regulary trains with the Achilles Track Club—an arm of Achilles International—whose members also assist him during marathons.

Achilles International offers a chance for disabled athletes to improve their health and fitness while bonding with peers who face similar challenges. The group participates in 16 marathons throughout the year.