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Oklahoma's Youngest 'Ryder'

K.T. King Modified: April 10, 2014 at 10:04 am •  Published: April 9, 2014
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Dawning his bicycle helmet and ninja turtle print jacket on Sunday morning, Ryder Gibson was ready for anything.

Looking around the starting line of the 2014 Redbud classic, Ryder Gibson is easily the youngest racer seen near the start of the pack. At four years old, Ryder is racing his third 5k race, in a wheelchair.

Supported by his mom Christi and dad Brian, Ryder has been preparing for the race for quite some time, which he will wheel on his own.

A close up of four-year-old Ryder Gibson and his ninja turtle jacket as he pushes off the starting line of the Redbud Classic at Nichols Hills Plaza in Nichols Hills, OK, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
A close up of four-year-old Ryder Gibson and his ninja turtle jacket as he pushes off the starting line of the Redbud Classic at Nichols Hills Plaza in Nichols Hills, OK, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

 

Just before the race began, mom Christi Gibson gave Ryder his final pep talk and a high five for good luck.  Ryder Gibson raced his third Redbud Classic on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Just before the race began, mom Christi Gibson gave Ryder his final pep talk and a high five for good luck. Ryder Gibson raced his third Redbud Classic on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

 

Dad Brian Gibson looks down the beginning stretch of the race with Ryder Gibson, giving him guidance on the first stretch of the Redbud Classic on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Dad Brian Gibson looks down the beginning stretch of the race with Ryder Gibson, giving him guidance on the first stretch of the Redbud Classic on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

The race announcer signals one minute to go before the signal gun.

Ryder looks to his parents for final advice and encouragement, but meanwhile, a handful of other racers crowded Ryder, looking to him for a bit final encouragement before their race.

“That was incredible,” one woman preparing to run remarked. “I wish I was that brave.”

I know that I do.

Four-year-old Ryder Gibson covers his ears with his hands, scared of the loud noise of the race starting gun, before the Redbud Classic on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Four-year-old Ryder Gibson covers his ears with his hands, scared of the loud noise of the race starting gun, before the Redbud Classic on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

 

Four-year-old Ryder Gibson pushes off the starting line as mom Christi Gibson and father Brian Gibson look on at the wheelchair 5k of the Redbud Classic at Nichols Hills Plaza in Nichols Hills, OK, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Four-year-old Ryder Gibson pushes off the starting line as mom Christi Gibson and father Brian Gibson look on at the wheelchair 5k of the Redbud Classic at Nichols Hills Plaza in Nichols Hills, OK, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

 

Four-year-old Ryder Gibson races from the starting line in his third wheelchair 5k of the Redbud Classic at Nichols Hills Plaza in Nichols Hills, OK, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Four-year-old Ryder Gibson races from the starting line in his third wheelchair 5k of the Redbud Classic at Nichols Hills Plaza in Nichols Hills, OK, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman