WHEN Bathurst wheelchair racer Waryk Holmes received his City2Surf medal in the post earlier this month he had every reason to be pleased given he covered 50 percent more kilometres than any other competitor to earn it.
Like many people across the country, Holmes intended to participate in the 'virtual' City2Surf this year given the COVID-19 situation.
It would mean covering 14 kilometres in his racing chair - by no means the biggest challenge the talented teenager had faced.
But as it turns out, Holmes did more than just that.
"You had to download an app to do it, to be able to track where you went, but of course for us the app wouldn't work. I don't know what it was, whether it was the weather that day, we kept loading it and unloading it, we just couldn't get it to work," Holmes' mother Tanya said.
"So we went out with his Garmin to Limekilns Road and I followed behind him in the van, but at the seven kay mark the wind was so bad that if he had of kept pushing he would have done himself an injury, so we stopped."
Stopped racing outside that is.
Once Holmes got back home, so determined was he to participate in the City2Surf in some form, he got in his chair on the rollers and pushed for 14km.
"We came home and I kind of expected him to throw his hands up in the air and forget about it type thing, but he strapped his chair into his rollers and pushed 14 kay," Tanya said.
"I thought he might have been disappointed and leave it at that, but he did a really good time on the rollers. We emailed them, said this is what has happened and he's come home and done it on the rollers.
"We said to them that 'Look we know you probably can't count the rollers because it's probably the same as a runner being on a treadmill' and just left it at that. He still felt good because he did it.
"But the next thing you know we got an email back from them saying they'd actually registered the time."
Holmes was declared winner of the men's 13-15 years category with a time of 54:27:14, that success coming after he had been the first junior wheelchair racer to tackle the City2Surf in 2019.
Last year, due to safety concerns, he'd only pushed from the top of Heart Break Hill to the finish line, which made the 21km he ended up doing this time even more meritorious.
"That was actually quite nice for him because it meant his time went up against everyone else and not just the wheelies," Tanya said.
"I think he felt like he'd accomplished even more because he was kind of on an even playing field so to speak, with everyone else."
Holmes thanked Australian Paralympian Jake Lappin for loaning him his old chairs to race in.
"Thank God Jake did that because Waryk's brand new chair that has only hit the the track three times and been used on the rollers doesn't fit him now, he's out-grown it," Tanya said.