Navin Singh was the very last official finisher of the Ford Ironman Cozumel, with a total race time of 16 hours 58 minutes.  As a PC, or physically challenged,  athlete  participating in this year’s Cozumel event, Navin hopes that his story will inspire anyone facing life’s challenges.

Navin’s  journey to the finish line begin many years ago, while he sat in a hospital bed and watched an Ironman on TV.   In 1984 he was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system.  Essentially Navin awoke one morning at the age of 18 paralyzed from the neck down.  Through an extended regimen of physical therapy, and sheer force of will, Navin has essentially trained his body back, and 29 years later he needs only braces to walk or run due to the remaining paralysis below both his knees.

Working closely with his hometown Tri-team, VO2 Multi-sport, coaches, doctors and massage therapists, Navin’s has been training for marathon and tri-events for the last 4 years, however  training specifically for the Cozumel Triathlon, stated exactly a year before.

Navin arrived with team mates, family and a multitude of support, in Cozumel 4 days prior to the Sunday event.  Due to rough seas and inclement weather, his group was unable to acclimate to the ocean, or even practice the official route.

Due to confusion at the start of the swim, Navin did not start with the PC group of athletes, but with his general age group.  As he attempted to head off to the right and out of the way, his swim goggles were knocked off, impairing his vision.  Undaunted, he carried on, slightly off course, which extended his swim time, however, he completed the swim portion with salt-swollen eyes.

Navin relied on handlers to assist with the transitions and used forearm crutches to facilitate the switch from swim to bike.  Throughout the course, he paid special attention to his nutrition and hydration, and even modified his run/walk ratio to adjust for persistent rain.

Inspired by Navin’s story and dedication, Michael Weiss, the Professional Men’s winner for the event actually came out and ran with Navin to the finish line.  Navin’s next goal is the 2015 Boston Marathon.

This was Navin’s first trip to Cozumel, and first visit to Mexico.  He, and his Tri-team, rented a beachfront villa near Chankanaab, where they enjoyed a wide variety of homecooked meals.  Navin said he was really impressed with the amount of people that cheered him on, lap after lap, and not just athletes and their supporters but local families and children as well.  Navin, a father of 2, hopes to return to Cozumel to show his daughters where their father became an Ironman.

For more information on Navin Singh and his spectacular journey, follow him on facebook.


This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island!  Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!…

Laura Wilkinson

Author at Cozumel 4 You
An ex-Connecticut Yankee who has called Cozumel home for over 18 years, Laura ran away to the Caribbean years ago, bumped around the islands teaching SCUBA diving, lost some time in Jamaica, and finally stopped in Cozumel for a 2 week vacation that hasn’t ended yet. With a degree in Journalism from a fancy private college she convinced her parents to pay for, Laura writes, edits, and creates the weeklyCozumel 4 You news,social media, and promotional articles about the island, as well as moderates the Cozumel 4 You Facebook group, which currently has over 25,000 members. Her long suffering husband, Fabian, has long since resigned himself to having zero private life, as he’s been involved in her various schemes and plots since his arrival. Proud parents to a variety of rescue dogs and cats, Laura continues to be the bane of her traditional Mexican mother-in-law’s existence, as she muses her way through life in the Mexican Caribbean.
Una ex yanqui de Connecticut quien llama hogar a Cozumel desde hace más de 15 años. Laura escapó al Caribe hace años, desplazándose de una isla a otra dando clases de BUCEO. Se dedicó a perder el tiempo en Jamaica y finalmente se detuvo en Cozumel para pasar unas vacaciones de 2 semanas que aún no terminan. Convenciendo a sus padres que pagaran una elegante universidad privada, obtuvo su título en Periodismo y Laura crea semanalmente Cozumel 4You, medios sociales y artículos promocionales sobre la Isla y también es moderadora en el grupo Cozumel 4 You en Facebook que actualmente cuenta con 25,000 miembros. Fabián, s umuy tolerante marido, desde hace mucho tiempo se resignó a no tener vida privada, pues se ha visto implicado en los diversos proyectos y planes que urde Laura. Son orgullosos padres de diversos perros y gatos rescatados. Mientras contempla su paso a través de la vida en el Caribe mexicano,Laura continúa siendo la pesadilla en la existencia de su muy tradicional suegra mexicana.

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