Achilles Nashville recently shared the sad news of Mike Moberg’s passing on November 4, 2018. Mike was one of the original Achilles Nashville athletes, starting soon after the Nashville Chapter was founded in 2012. He rode an orange handcycle from Achilles with a bright neon flag waving behind him. For years, Mike came to practice each week on Wednesday nights, always in his neon yellow Achilles logo shirt. He put in many a mile with Achilles guides and friends on the Richland Creek Greenway, in the neighborhoods around McCabe Park, and in Belle Meade. Any runner who frequents the Belle Meade Boulevard and Percy Warner would know who Mike was if you mentioned the guy on the orange handcycle and the neon yellow shirt.
Mike was in a 1-car accident on his way home from work on the evening of January 19, 2009. He suffered a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed with no feeling or movement from the waist down. During recovery he looked for ways to stay active and exercise. While he had been approximately 300 pounds (he was a great chef it seems!) prior to his accident; after his injury, he became a chair user. He quickly realized that he had to lose weight and become stronger to be independent and do the things he wanted to do in life. Thus began an exercise routine that included Achilles and workouts in the gym. He would often push his wheelchair up hills in different parking garages for up to 2-3 hours. Additionally, he changed his diet to eat healthier and lost over half his body weight as a result. Mike was totally dedicated to his fitness and healthy lifestyle. But probably of all the adapted sports, Mike loved handcycling.
Included here is an article on Mike from the Shepherd Center where he did much of his rehab after his accident years ago and a YouTube video where Mike talks about the importance of changing his lifestyle once he became a wheelchair user.
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Mike’s father, David and his mother, Catherine have asked that donations in honor of Mike be made to Achilles Nashville to support equipment needs of the non-profit program.
Interview with David Moberg (Mike Moberg’s Father)
Do you have a favorite memory of Mike from a race?
We have two favorite memories of Mike from his races:
His first marathon was the 2013 Nashville Country Music Marathon. It was cold and rainy. Really miserable weather. And Mike had the great opportunity to ride that race with Achilles founder, Dick Traum. I think they were the only two hand-cyclists that year. His very first comment on finishing the race was “I NEVER want to do that again!” It took Mike several hours to warm up after the race. But by the next day he was hooked. Dick Traum was a great inspiration to him, and Mike went on to do a number of marathons all over the country over the next few years.
In November of 2013 Mike did his first of two New York City Marathons. And the highlight for Mike that first year was experiencing the tremendous cheers from the crowd when he crossed the bridge onto Manhattan and turned the corner onto First Avenue. There were crowds cheering all along the route up to that point. But every time Mike talked about the huge cheers that he heard when he crossed into Manhattan for the first time, it brought tears to his eyes. It was a special, once-in-a-lifetime moment of joy that I know stuck with him all his life.
What was Mike up to the past few years?
Mike did 15 or 16 different races, some marathons and some shorter races, from 2012 to 2016. We love looking at all the medals that he earned over those 5 years. The last two years were tough though, and Michael experienced a number of serious physical ailments and setbacks. During those two years he wasn’t able to ride his handcycle or even work out like he wanted to. We know that he missed that.
How did you see a change in Mike with Achilles?
Achilles opened a new world to Mike. Achilles gave him both the courage and the ability to compete in races around the country on his handcycle. He traveled with the Nashville Achilles team and learned how to do a major race. The team helped with transportation and equipment and guides and meals and accommodations. Most of all they provided the camaraderie and team spirit which really motivated all of the athletes. At the races Mike met some of the wounded warriors and athletes from other Achilles chapters who were also competing on handcycles. He loved hanging out with them, learning from, and sharing experiences. And he kept in touch with several of them via email between their races. Achilles International became Mike’s community for several years.
Can you explain why donating to Achilles is important to you?
After Mike’s accident in 2009 and his three-month rehabilitation he was really looking for a way to continue to improve the quality of his life. He was working out a lot at Beyond Therapy in Nashville and fitness was becoming part of his daily routine. Often, as part of his workout, he would go and push in his regular wheelchair on the uphill ramps in a couple of different parking garages in Nashville. He would do that for 2 or 3 hours at a time and loved the endorphin rush and sense of well-being that it gave him. Achilles started the Nashville chapter in 2012 and Mike was one of their first athletes. When Achilles gave Mike his first hand cycle to use, a whole new world opened up to him. It would be such a great way to honor Mike’s memory by helping to fund the purchase of additional equipment by the Nashville chapter so that others can have their life changed like Mike did.
Our Achilles Nashville Chapter will miss Mike and all our thoughts are with the family during this time.