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Jersey City Athlete Won't Let Life-Changing Injury Stop Him From Competing

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- An accident changed the life of one world-class athlete from Jersey City, New Jersey.

But as CBS2's Steve Overmyer reported, he refuses to let it take his spirit or take him away from his sport.

June 12, 2014 is a day Glenn Hartrick will never forget. While training for another ironman triathlon, he was hit by a car.

Hartrick suffered two collapsed lungs, nine broken ribs and a C-6 spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. A tragic accident that ended his career as a runner, but not as a racer, Overmyer reported.

"I'm an athlete. I'm a racer. It's an addiction that I've had for a long time," he said.

Nobody knows the addiction of racing like a former cover model for "Runner's World."

Suffering a devastating injury could crush anyone's spirit, but Hartrick isn't just anyone.

"It's getting back to my new normal," he said. "And I always talk about my new normal way of life after the accident was 'what can I get back to doing that I love to do.'"

Ten short months after his accident, after overcoming pain of constant spasms in his legs and coming to grips with his new life, this champion ironman is back doing what he loves, Overmyer reported.

"This is racing. It was racing before, it's just a new way of racing," Hartrick said. "Instead of using my legs, which were nice, strong and powerful, I gotta use my arms, which weren't so much."

Hartrick competed in a half marathon earlier this month -- 13 miles in a hand cycle provided by Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Hartrick's participation provided motivation for others.

"I think the racing world is really a family, right. People who have done marathons, triathlons, Ironmen -- they have this kind of camaraderie," said Doug Olson, with Challenged Athletes Foundation.

"(Is this helping you more mentally or physically?) Both, it really is both. It gets me away from going back to therapy, going back to rehab -- to get me back into the old mindset, Hartrick said. "My new normal, it does demonstrate that anything is possible."

When Hartrick ran his first marathon in 2006, he said it was off his bucket list. But he caught the racing bug and promised himself he'd run at least one marathon every year.

He's not letting his life-changing accident stop him from keeping that promise. Hartrick will compete in the New York City Marathon in November.

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