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CAF brings out the best in challenged athletes

Posted at 9:29 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 00:29:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Challenged Athletes Foundation is in the midst of their Community Challenge fundraiser, with a goal of raising one million dollars. That money goes to help amazing athletes, like San Diegan Roderick Sewell, who last year made history at the 2019 Ironman World Championship. Sewell was born with missing tibia's in both of his legs, which resulted in a double amputation above the knees. All before the age of two. Roderick says he was never involved in sports early on as a child, until he was introduced to the Challenged Athletes Foundation at the age of nine.

"I didn't know there were adaptive sports for me."

He tried his hands at many CAF sports, but the one he found the most success with, was the sport he says terrified him the most. That would be swimming.

"I had a small fear growing up"

However, that fear disappeared when he met CAF legend Rudy Garcia-Tolson.

"Seeing Rudy as a double above the knee amputee like myself, and forming that connection with him, and seeing how he was in the water, inspired me to say OK i can do this."

And as soon as Roderick excelled in the water as a swimmer, he was steered towards competing in triathlons.

"I don't know if i can do it but I'm going to try."

But not just any triathlon, the grand daddy of them all, the Ironman World Championship.

"I'd never done anything over a half marathon. I'd never biked over 90 miles, and I'd never swam more than a mile and a half in the ocean."

No problem, as he conquered the 2.4 mile swim, the 112 mike bike ride, and the 26.2 marathon. However, he says along the race course, he did have his doubts.

"I'm not going to lie to you, there were times where it was like this might be it. They may have to come and get me."

But that would not be the case, as Sewell became the first double above the knee amputee to finish the race inside the 17 hour limit.

"It was like no way, I'm just trying to stay up not to fall over. Just that moment crossing the finish line and seeing all the athletes come in, and seeing all the work we put in to get to this point."