RALEIGH, NC - Just when Edward “Lane” Hinnant thought his passion for athletic competition would be on hold for a while, he achieved an even bigger feat – with a much bigger meaning.
Lane is the world’s fastest man to complete a 5-kilometer race — on crutches. He dedicated the Dec. 14, 2013 race, held at the Wilson Triathlon Club’s Jingle Bell Run 5k in North Carolina, to raising awareness of cystic fibrosis, a lung and digestive condition that affects his two daughters.
He kicked off 2013 with heavy training for various triathlons in which he planned to compete. Because of increased intensity during workouts, he noticed discomfort in his leg but kept racing until the pain became unbearable. Turns out he had multiple stress fractures and was promptly put on crutches.
But Lane was determined to turn the set-back into something positive. “When I realized the Guinness Book of World Records didn’t have a record for running a 5K on crutches, I thought it was so unique that people would do a double-take, and it would get attention for cystic fibrosis,’” Lane said. “It definitely served its purpose … the story was picked up by Runner’s World Magazine with a circulation of more than 700,000.”
Despite the constant numbing sensation of the crutches under his arms, coupled with running solely on one leg, he said it hurt less than expected. “My arms were completely exhausted, though. Picking my daughters up for the picture at the end of the race was probably the hardest part,” he said.
The risk management employee, who joined PNC in 2008, received additional support from friends and family during the race as well: “A friend who had just flown back from Afghanistan ran with me and told me stories about his recent deployment to keep me distracted. That was special.”
As he neared the finish line with bumps and pot holes surrounding each step, one thought invaded his mind — do not trip.
"I made it that far, and if I tripped or touched the ground at all, I'd be disqualified," he explained. "My daughter came out with a quarter of a mile to go, and I thought, "there are a lot of cameras around, so don’t trip.'"
Lane Hinnant with his wife Melissa and daughters Angelina and Alaina.
After completing the race in 64 minutes and 50 seconds, Lane was greeted with hugs from from his daughters Angelina and Alaina, who are now 2 and 6, respectively. Although they are too young to understand the extent of their dad’s accomplishment, Angelina was excited to see him run. "I told her I was doing it for them,” he said.
There’s a chance his record will be broken some day, but he will always be the first.
“People might say something is impossible, but you don’t find out until you try,” Lane said. “Some people may find inspiration in it, but I would do anything for my children. They are much more inspirational than I am.”
Less than one year after his race on crutches, Lane completed an Iron Man in Wilmington, NC. And in just the first three months of 2015, he has already competed in five races. “I do all my training in the early morning before anyone is up, so that I don’t miss any family time.”
He finds the best competition to be raising awareness, funds and support for cystic fibrosis. In 2014, he co-founded a family advisory board for the Cystic Fibrosis Center at the UNC Children’s Hospital, helping help families cope with the emotional stress of a child being newly diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. “The doctors do an incredible job with all of the medical stuff, and our group provides the mentorship, resources and advice to help with the emotional part.”
Lane co-founded an organization to help families deal with cystic fibrosis
My daughters are the true inspiration. I’m just so glad I’ve been able to turn a passion into something that can help others.
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