Handcyclist Joe Stone has settled his disability discrimination complaint against Run Wild Missoula after the marathon agreed to allow handcycles and wheelchairs in the race with no restrictions. As part of the Jan. 22 settlement, the organization agreed to pay Stone $13,000, which includes his court costs, and to have its staff and board members undergo two hours of training on accommodating people with disabilities.
“I’m glad the Missoula Marathon is now going to be a truly inclusive race,” says Stone, a quad who lives in Missoula. “It’s going to make a big difference in the way directors are looking at their races in the future and knowing it’s time to start including people with disabilities.”
Stone says that although he was denied access to the marathon in 2013, Run Wild allowed him to race in July 2014 — but only if he obeyed a speed limit and yielded to foot runners. He protested these requirements by participating without registering, and video recording a race volunteer telling him to either get off the course or “get up and walk.”
Soon after the race, Stone filed a discrimination complaint against Run Wild Missoula with the Montana Human Rights Bureau.
Stone considers the settlement to be a big step forward. ”This is really the first case that’s gone this far when it comes to inclusion in races like this,” he says. He wants Run Wild Missoula to know people with disabilities are part of the community and need to be included in community events. “I hope this makes them realize that they can’t just say someone with a disability is a safety hazard,” he says.
Tony Banovich, the Run Wild Missoula executive director, declined to comment specifically on the case. “We’re just happy to have the issue is resolved and we are moving forward with our planning for the 2016 Missoula Marathon,” he said.