Health & Wellness

Westfield Man, Paralyzed in Crash, Ready for His Second NYC Marathon

ff8aa854c32ce90e4301_dennis_3.jpg
Handcyclist Dennis McGorty trains for the New York City Marathon. Credits: Abigail Thomas Photography
37cee47e5834f0aa7433_dennis_2.jpg
Handcyclist Dennis McGorty with his family. Credits: Abigail Thomas Photography
7ae8970deabbbc904487_de57bad58e513d8cec85_dennis.jpg
Handcyclist Dennis McGorty with his daughter. Credits: Anita McGorty
52f5c94eb81dcbde37c2_dennis_4.jpg
Handcyclist Dennis McGorty trains with friends. Credits: Abigail Thomas Photography
ff8aa854c32ce90e4301_dennis_3.jpg

WESTFIELD, NJ — It would have been a typical Tuesday November morning at Tamaques Park. Orange and yellow leaves were drifting down from the trees as joggers and dog walkers made their way around the park’s drive in a leisurely pace. Except, just five days before the New York City Marathon, Westfield native and current resident Dennis McGorty was in full training mode zipping around the park in excess of 25 MPH on his handcycle putting in his final training push before Sunday’s big race – catching the eye of amazed onlookers.

“This is just great,” said McGorty with a big smile as he came in for a pit stop between blasts around the park’s loop to speak to the camera crew for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation who were filming him for a video on handcycling and Team Reeve.  “I could do this all day.”

At Sunday’s marathon McGorty, who rides for Team Reeve, will reach speeds as high as 40 MPH down the Verrazano Bridge as he hopes to complete the 26.2 miles in under 1 hour 45 minutes — faster than the projected winning men’s runners time of approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Sign Up for E-News

“It’s an amazing experience from start to finish,” said McGorty. “The entire course is lined with people packed onto the street cheering.”

As a former collegiate decathlon and track and field champion at the University of North Carolina and later as an avid cyclist, Dennis McGorty knew first-hand the joy of being involved in sports. Now more than three years after becoming paralyzed from the waist down after his bicycle was hit by a truck near his house on the way back from a long ride, McGorty is gearing up for this year’s marathon and looking to continue to regain not only his physicality but his will to compete again.

McGorty got his handcycle from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which will be the recipient of this year’s Greta’s Run fundraiser in Westfield.

“It makes me feel like me again,” said McGorty, 46, who in his first-ever race since his injury finished 11th place in the handcycle division last year in New York with a time of 1:43.00. “Cycling was such a big part of my life and to be able to do it again in some form is great- not just for the sport, but for the camaraderie of cycling.”

McGorty was so good in track at Westfield High School that he still holds the 400 meter high hurdles record and was an Olympic hopeful in the decathlon as a collegiate athlete before a series of leg injuries slowed him down.

His past athletic achievements have helped to give him the drive to push through the exhaustion of first rehabilitation and now what it takes to complete and train for a marathon on a handcycle. But he credits the incredible support of his wife and two school age children with giving him the strength to be motivated every day.

“My family is everything,” said McGorty. “They are my biggest cheerleaders – not just for the marathon but in my life and working to continue to get stronger and gain recovery,”

McGorty, a builder and real estate investor before the accident, said that he would like to ride more in the future, including more marathons and races. His current training includes combining work on a stationary handcycle that he has in his house and riding on the road to help him develop the arm strength, endurance and pace for racing. He likes to train in Tamaques Park which he can ride to from his house and on occasion still goes out with his old riding buddies for a longer trips. Since his handcycle is so low to the ground he always likes someone to be with him to help look out for cars. Still his number one focus remains “being a husband and father,” he said.

Last year’s marathon was a milestone for McGorty and his family.  

“It was an incredible day,” he said, “a wave of happiness of the possibilities that lay ahead.” With McGorty’s focus and determination to reach new goals in sports and with his continued independence the possibilities are, in fact, still very much unknown.

“Dennis is not afraid of obstacles,” said his wife, Anita. “Whether blasting through or chipping away at them, he’ll keep going. Giving up is never an option for him.”

For additional information on Team Reeve or to donate to Team McGorty visit give.reeve.org/teammcgorty.

A frequent contributor to TAPinto Westfield, Mike Cohen is the founder/director of Throwback Sports (a sports program for children of all abilities) and the sports editor of Education Update. He can be reached at throwbacksports@verizon.net

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Springfield Acupuncturist Charged with Sexual Assault of Patient

February 24, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ — A Springfield-based acupuncturist and was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a patient, Acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan and Springfield Police Chief John Cook jointly announced Friday.

 Edward Raskin, 55, of Chatham Township, Morris County, was charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Carousel_image_d28b11720ab931cdced4_hamantash_bake_2018

Sun, February 25, 11:30 AM

Union County Torah Center - Chabad, Westfield

Hamantash Bake at the Torah Center

Religions And Spirituality

Tue, February 27, 7:30 PM

Westfield

Westfield Board of Education Meeting

Education

Westfield Police Blotter: Man Steals 60 Pairs of Pants from Downtown Store & More

February 21, 2018

February 14, 2018 10:53 p.m.

Officers Gill and Weiss arrested Luis Murillo, age 30, of Rahway, NJ, for two outstanding warrants out of Westfield Municipal Court ($500) and Woodbridge Municipal Court ($500) pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in Scotch Plans Township. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released after posting requisite bail.

 

February 15, 2018 5:24 ...

Union County Hosts First LGBTQ Roundtable

February 24, 2018

On Tuesday, February 20, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, through the Office of LGBTQ Services, hosted a roundtable with over 20 leading LGBTQ advocacy and ally organizations that serve Union County and New Jersey. Facilitated by Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality, more than 40 participants met to discuss LGBTQ-related programs, services, issues and ...

The Missing Moses

A seemingly dubious distinction belongs to this week’s Parshah, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20–30:10). It is the only reading in the Torah — from the first Parshah of the book of Exodus (in which he is born) until the end of the book of Numbers — where the name of Moses is not mentioned. Tetzaveh’s opening words are V’atah ...

‘Month of Hope’ at Wilson School

Inspired by the HOPE Week Initiative introduced in 2009 by the New York Yankees, Mr. Joseph Malanga, principal of Wilson School and a fan of the American League professional ballclub, declared January the “Month of Hope” at Wilson.

Malanga called on the school’s faculty Acts of Kindness Committee to choose the charitable organizations to be recipients of the weekly donation ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Would the Stock Market Affect Your Home Purchase?

"Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night." ("All About Eve.") While most people misquote this as "It's going to be a bumpy ride," the actual quote works better for the movie. Bette Davis delivers this with the classic style that made her one of the most loved actresses of her generation.

Well for the stock market it’s been a wild bumpy ...

Good News in NJ for Veterans

Beginning in the 2017 tax year, New Jersey will give an additional $3,000 exemption for military veterans. You are eligible to claim this exemption NJ state income tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or before the last day of the tax year.

 

The ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

Investors love to rally around a stock story. Today it’s all about the FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) are a major reason why the S&P 500 rallied so much in 2017. Mr. Market is convinced the FAANGs are impervious to a sell-off. “Its different this time” is ringing loud and clear, but will the outcome really be that ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Nutley Police Make Arrest In Instagram School Threat Case

February 24, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ — An 18-year-old high school student has been charged with Third Degree False Public Alarm after an Instagram post led the Nutley school district to close schools last week.

Joseph Rafanello, a senior at Nutley High School, was arrested and taken to Essex County Jail.The arrest followed a full investigation by the police. The video at ...