Former 'Dancing with the Stars' champion Hines Ward helping local injured Marine achieve goal

Capt. Eric McElvenny's goal is to run Ironman

CORONADO, Calif. - A former "Dancing with the Stars" champion is helping a local injured Marine achieve his goal.

One year ago, some thought Marine Capt. Eric McElvenny would never be able to compete in another triathlon. But as a Marine, McElvenny says he never gives up on a challenge.

Last December, McElvenny was in Afghanistan when he stumbled on an improvised explosive device, or IED. He survived the blast but lost his leg. Doctors were not sure if he was ever going to walk again.

"After I was injured, I was in the hospital in Balboa and I set a goal at running an Ironman," said McElvenny.

Three months later, he was walking. Six months later, he was running.

That is where former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward comes in. Ward, who is also a former "Dancing with the Stars" champion, is training with McElvenny to qualify for his first Ironman World Championship. Their first test was the SUPERSEAL Triathlon in Coronado on Sunday.

"I'm a big football fan," said McElvenny. "I love him (Ward) and his style on the football field. He's very aggressive and always having fun."

10News caught up with Ward after he crossed the finish line. He said with McElvenny by his side, it is not hard to stay motivated.

"Eric is awesome," Ward said. "Very inspiring… Not just for me, but for troops all over the world. Here's a guy who's an amputee who is overcoming adversity and doesn't use an excuse for losing his leg. He's going out to compete."

Both will try and qualify for the Ironman competition in October.

Proceeds from Sunday's triathlon will go to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

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