Mike Savicki Goes After An MBA And Discovers Wheelchair Racing

Editor’s Note: Mike Savicki, of Cornelius, North Carolina, decided that he wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot. He felt he was strong, smart and brave enough to be among the Navy’s top jet fighter pilots, and he almost made it. Part 3 of a 5 part series.

School again became my refuge. I looked for a university that would really take me out of my comfort zone and require me to excel so I enrolled in Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. After two years of full-time study, I became only the second person to graduate from Duke’s MBA program in a wheelchair.  And in the spring of 1994, my classmates, who had watched me grow and change as a person while we all worked for our degrees, voted me to be the commencement speaker at graduation. It was an amazing honor. In that speech, I talked about individual challenges, overcoming adversity and becoming the best person you could be based on your own unique set of strengths, talents and abilities.

During those two years, I also got a racing wheelchair and trained to become a marathon racer. You might say I loaded my own personal wagon academically and physically while at Duke University. I pushed my first wheelchair marathon while at Duke. I set a new goal for myself and that was to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Other than the Paralympics, the Boston Marathon is the only marathon in the world that requires wheelchair racers to qualify before they can enter. To compete as a class 1 quad in Boston, you have to be able to power your wheelchair through the course in less than 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Mike Savicki got into wheelchair racing while at Duke.

Mike Savicki got into wheelchair racing while at Duke.

Wheelchair athletes are a tight knit group and when I first moved to North Carolina, I was fortunate enough to meet other wheelchair racers from across the Southeast at local races like 5K and 10K events and half marathons.  I met Bert Burns, the owner of UroMed, and a pretty fast guy named Scot Hollonbeck.  They taught me how to sit, how to push and how to train.

I never will forget the Miami Marathon early in 1994, the race that qualified me for Boston. I’d been injured in 1990, got out of rehab in 1991, and then only 3 years later, I was heading back to Boston. My first Boston Marathon in a wheelchair was in 1994, and when I finished, I was on top of the world. I finally felt like I’d gotten back to the point in life where I was before I was injured. And I keep going back to Boston because I simply love it more than I can put into words. I’ve done 18 so far – 16 of those in a wheelchair. My best finish so far has been 2 hours and 20 minutes and when the conditions have been bad, well, I’ve been a lot slower.

Today, at age 44, I still love to participate in races. I love to be active, I like to be outside, and I love the feeling of freedom that comes with participating in endurance sports. But most of all, I really enjoy the people and the other athletes who come to these events.

Mike has been extremely successful in wheelchair racing.

In addition to wheelchair racing, Mike is a triathlete who has completed sprint, Olympic and half iron distance races.

Visit http://www.nmeda.com/ for details.

Mike Savicki is the national spokesperson for the first-ever, National Mobility Awareness Month in May. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is sponsoring the awareness month.

Founded in 1989 as a non-profit trade association, NMEDA supports more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities.

For information on NMEDA, please visit www.nmeda.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com for the national awareness month. For more information about Mike, please visit www.mikesavicki.com

Next: Mike Savicki’s Life Post MBA

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

One Response to Mike Savicki Goes After An MBA And Discovers Wheelchair Racing

  1. Pingback: The Day Mike Savicki’s Life Changed Due to Spinal Cord Injury « UroMed Catheter Health Blog

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