Challenged Athlete Hopes To Inspire Others At Alcatraz

Fresh off his victory in the Olympic distance physically challenged division at Wildflower, Mohamed Lahna will compete as part of a relay.

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During his first Olympic distance triathlon experience in Gerardmer,  France, in September 2008, Mohamed Lahna noted an inscription on the racing bib above his number: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Series.

“Oh, I have to go there one day,” thought the Casablanca, Morocco, native at the time, not realizing that he would be escaping from, not to, the iconic San Francisco landmark, and that he would be doing it as a Bay Area resident.

Fresh off his victory in the Olympic distance physically challenged division in last month’s Tri-California Wildflower Triathlon, Lahna, who lives in San Mateo with wife Ru Chen, will be part of a three-man relay representing the Challenged Athletes Foundation in the June 10 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

Lahna will be taking the plunge with 2,000 fellow “escapees” into the frigid Bay waters off the coast of Alcatraz next Sunday. He’s done it before, at the Alcatraz Challenge Swim last May, where he completed the 1½ miles in 38 minutes, 53 seconds, a time that would put him well within the top tier of all competitors. Not bad for a guy who was born without a femur in his right leg.

“Imagine the rest of your leg moved higher, the heel is where the knee should be,” said his wife, a prosthetist and orthotist by profession.

After reaching shore, Lahna’s day will be done as he turns things over to Alan Shanken for the second stage, an 18-mile bike ride. Geoff Turner will anchor the race, completing the 8-mile run for the team, nicknamed “The Wrecking Crew” by the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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