Paralyzed man set to run in Ironman Triathlon

Posted at 10:39 PM, Aug 11, 2017

Rod Hutchins crossed the finish line earlier this month taking third place in his age group in a triathlon in Eastern Idaho, but getting to this point has been decades in the making. 

"Over 23 plus years ago I was paralyzed from the waist down," explained Hutchins. "I was going to Colorado and I got really sick over the next thirty days. I went to the hospital I was diagnosed with Guillian Barre."

During the thick of the illness, Hutchins set a goal that he knew would be the biggest challenge of his life, to complete the Ironman in Kona, Hawaii. 

He could barely walk at that time, but his determination kept him pushing forward.

"Five doctors were put together, and in nine months we did nine surgeries. We had both hips replaced, both knees scoped, one knee replaced, and a hiatal hernia. I ultimately had a spinal stimulator stuck in my back, and all that was due to the virus I had," said Hutchins.

As Hutchins got better, he needed a way to attack his goal, so he reached out to local businesses to support him in his journey. 

Despite Hutchin's positive nature, some were skeptical at best. 

"I thought he was a little crazy," said Doug Swanson of Bill's Bike and Run. He scheduled a meeting with us and I have to tell you the first thing I thought is that wasn't the guy that was competing in the Iron man, I thought, this must be the guy who is representing the guy competing in the Ironman."

It didn't take long for his infectious enthusiasm to inspire others to walk alongside him in his journey.

"You could tell that he had a charisma and a focus. He had a drive that was real," said Swanson.

As Hutchins trained, he became an inspiration to everyone he came in contact with. 
"When he literally falls off his bike, he gets back up blood and all, he keeps going and that's super amazing," said Mike Taylor, a trainer at Apple Athletic Club.

Now, with Hutchin's team in place and friends by his side, it seems like no hurdle in his path will stop him from going to Kona, Hawaii next year. 

"I've seen me crossing with the Iron Dream team, that finish line, millions of times over the years as I lay in a hospital bed or I've been in physical therapy or I've been sick," explained Hutchins "It's a pretty huge task at hand. I'm just flat out excited about just the chance to do that."