New Jersey man Sam Spencer wins handcycling category at Boston Marathon

Sam Spencer is the men's handcycling champion. (4/21/14)

BRICK TOWNSHIP - A Brick Township man is celebrating a special honor at this year's Boston Marathon.

Sam Spencer is the men's handcycling champion. He came in first place today in the unique category.

Spencer was paralyzed in 1991 while snow skiing, but now competes in races all across the country. His medals fill his Brick Township home.

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He placed second in the marathon last year and was at his hotel when the bombs went off. His wife, Christine Spencer, says he didn't plan to return until that moment.

Spencer says the world watched the race closely this year, but he focused on it just being another race.

"From the athlete's perspective it was another race that you knew was going to happen in a very normal fashion," he says.

Spencer trained in the comfort of his family room for this year's race. "He loves handcycling," says Christine Spencer. "He did go to win. He thought there was a very good chance."

When he's not training, Spencer educates 9,000 Ocean County sixth-graders about his disability. He hopes this year's medal will inspire them.

"What I do here in Boston is for me," Sam Spencer says. "But it's something I bring home and really share with the kids of Ocean County."

Spencer plans to compete at a race in in Gettysburg this summer and in Germany this fall.

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