October 14, 2010Para-athlete Inspires With Journey of Determination, Grit and KT Tape Kirstie Honeywill-Syke is a top hand cyclist who is tough as nails, sweet as pie and has placed within the top three in every race shes entered. She suffers from NMO (Neuromyelitis Optica), an autoimmune disease that attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord. Kirstie has chosen not let her illness stop her from becoming an amazing athlete in her field. Read Kirsties inspirational story and how KT Tape is helping her in obtaining her goals. By Kirstie Honeywill-Skye: Back in May 2008 I decided that I wanted to do the Minnie 15k at Disney as I have always wanted to do a race but had never got around to doing it. I finished the race in my regular wheelchair and I found that I loved doing it so much that I wanted to do more. My doctors advised me that because of my illness I should race a hand crank (hand cycle) as a racing wheelchair would not be suitable. I am training with the goal that one day I will make it on the paralympic team; I know I have a long way to go, but I have the determination and drive to see it through. Last year I found someone to sponsor me a crank chair which I received late February and a few weeks later I was racing in the Princess half marathon where I was the first person to finish. A little after that race, in training, I had a bad crash. It took until the beginning of the fall to get the sponsorship and parts necessary (Thanks to HED, Phil Wood & Co, Spiral & Freedom Ryder) to get back racing again. Luckily the chair was ready just before my next race at the Columbus marathon where I placed 2nd in my division. Since then I have raced in the Marine Corps Marathon(3rd place), New York Marathon(3rd place), Space Coast Marathon(2nd place), West Palm Beach Marathon(2nd place), Disneys Goofy Challenge(1st place, half and full marathon), ING Miami Marathon(1st place), Tallahassee Marathon(1st place) and Boston Marathon where I came in 1st place even though I fractured my arm around mile 9 of 26, my gears where not working, my chain was coming off and one of my handle bars fell off. I train every day, either on the roads, trails or indoor trainer. When cycling, at the moment we do a minimum of 20 miles a day and three times a week 60 miles in one session with the goal of constantly increasing mileage to a minimum of 400 miles a week. In the summer we train in temperatures of 90++ its hard, but my attitude is that if I can go a race pace in these temperatures I can go even faster in competition when its cooler! Previously cranking 60 miles would leave my arms, shoulders and neck very sore and it would take me a long time to recover from it, but now with KT Tape I can do several of those training sessions a week. Without KT Tape I would not be able to continue racing and training. I compete in road races, from 5k to marathons and more, my fastest marathon time to date was at the ING Miami Marathon where I finished first in my division in 1:59:01. The next step for me is to enter into Hand cycling Federation events so that I can be considered for the Paralympics. The qualifying time is 1 km in 2:30 and I can easily do 1m in that time which I have done in a marathon and that gives me a 1 km time of 1:30. I am determined, focused and hungry for competition, when I race, even though I am in the womens class I mentally race against the men, as they are generally faster, so they are the ones I want to beat! I know I can become a top competitor and with the help of KT Tape I can reach the wins that I aspire too. Kirstie, you are truly an inspiration. We wish you the best of luck in your future races and we are proud that you have KT Tape right there with you.