The 28th annual Broad Street Run will take place tomorrow, and that means Tony Nogueira is back to win another gold medal as well as the monetary award that comes for a first-place finish in his division.
This will be the 38-year-old Nogueira's fifth straight year in the wheelchair division. The Glen Ridge, N.J., resident has never lost here.
"It's just like any race," said Nogueira, a native of Portugal who came to the United States as a teenager. "I do my preparation, and I hope to come out and run a good race, and win again."
The Broad Street Run begins at the Central High School athletic field at Broad and Somerville, and ends at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. The wheelchair division will get a five-minute head start on the pack of runners.
More than 15,000 competitors are expected for the second-largest 10-mile race in the country.
Among the returnees is Olga Romanova of Germantown, Md., who won the women's division last year.
Nogueira, an artist, full-time teacher, and father of two small boys, was paralyzed from the waist down at age 19 after falling from a tree and breaking his back. He began competing in wheelchair racing not long after he was released from his stay at a rehabilitation center.
And it wasn't long before Nogueira was among the best in the sport. He works out by doing 20 to 30 miles four days a week.
"I found it exciting," he said. "It's an individualistic sport, and a person can go fast in a racing chair. Life is made up of pluses and minuses. A disability is a minus. My advice to people with disabilities is to find as many pluses in their lives as they can to balance things out.
"I'm fortunate to have a lot of pluses in my life - painting, racing, teaching, my family, and doing the things I love with people I care about."