Dare2tri Athlete Profile: Israel Antonio

Get to know Israel Antonio, Dare2tri Elite Team athlete, marathoner, and "athlete who happens to not see," as he provides a post for dare2tri:

 

After losing my eyesight when I was 14 years old, I believed I would never run as fast as I did when I had sight, but I went from a back-of-the-pack finisher to a five-time Boston Marathon qualifier and an elite paratriathlete.

Years ago, I contacted running stores and clubs expressing interest to join while explaining I would require volunteer guides.  My e-mail was passed along eventually landing in Keri Serota’s inbox.  Keri introduce herself and offered to guide me for a 5K.  Later, she told me of co-founding Dare2tri, set to launch the following season.  In Keri, I did not gain a guide or resource.  I gained a friend. 

After losing my sight, I promised myself I would never use the word blind as an adjective to describe or define me.  I am a son, brother, lover, uncle, writer, performer, athlete who happens to not see.  In Dare2tri, I have found a community of individuals who embrace me for being Israel not for being a disability. 

As beautiful and talented as Keri Serota, Melissa Stockwell, Hailey Danisewicz, Diana Helt, Mary Kate Callahan, Sara Koehnke, Lisa Krejcik, and Stacee Seay are, they are even more magnificent, inspiring, and kind as people.  The way Daniel Tun, Todd Smith, Luke Pollock, Todd Nelson, Mike Wong, Cameron Seay, and Levi Kane have embraced me is more than for what I could have hoped. 

During my years with Dare2tri, I can put a price on the medals for my podium finishes, but I can never put a price on the memories I made in Pleasant Prairie, Austin, and London.  Dare2tri is a family.  I am just everyone’s girl-crazy brother who just happens not to see