Did you all watch the 2020 London Marathon?
In the year 2003, I was fortunate enough to complete my first and only London Marathon, recording an above average time of 3:38:21, (See the attached photograph as evidence).
That same year I ran in The Reading Half Marathon, The Great North Run, and The Glasgow Half Marathon along with copious amounts of 10k and Cross Country running events, running for Sandhurst joggers in Surrey.
I don’t remember any of the times that I recorded for these events but, that really isn’t important.
What’s important is, I can say that I’ve achieved these things when thousands, probably even millions of people can’t.
For anybody whose heard one of the talks, you’ll also know that, at the age of 9 years old I swam breaststroke and butterfly for Calderdale Country.
At the age of 13, I rode in my first ever cycle race riding for Todmorden CC, Whaley CC’s 10 mile time trial recording a respectable time of 27:04. Twenty seven minutes and 4 seconds, becoming their youngest ever competitor.
I went on to ride a sub 22 minute ten mile time trial and, a sub 54 minute twenty five mile time trial.
When I was just 15 years old, I threw the Javelin the Olympic qualifying distance.
I also ran the 4 minute mile, well I actually ran it in 4 minutes and 11 seconds but hey.
By the time I was 17, I was cycling for Manchester and rode in races such as the Junior Tour of IreLand and, the Peter Buckley Series.
At the age of 18, I represented Great Britain making the GB squad and, was riding in races such as the Pro / Am race called The Tour of Lancs against the likes of Tour de France stage winner and, world hour record holder Chris Boardman.
So here I am aged 47 years old and, I’m now a disabled brain injury survivor.
I’m never going to be able to run the London Marathon again, actually I’m never going to be able to do many of the things that I once took for granted. That said, would I even want to…?
What I am more than confident in saying is, I do have the ability to be a top para-cyclist.
When I started cycling again about 18 months ago, my mileage was around 30 miles a week spread over 5 or 6 days . Now the absolute minimum distance that me and a support worker rides is 50+ miles a day sometimes, in fact regularly significantly further.
The furthest that I’ve cycled in a single day since returning to cycling, is when Ian & I cycled 78.2 miles to Drayton Manor and back, in fact we’ve now cycled it twice.
As you know, we’ve also cycled 140 miles from coast to coast and, we’ve cycled 123.3 miles from home to Aberystwyth. I say we’ve but, of course I’m referring to Ian & I.
I’ve been badged as being unrealistic in the past by Dr. Brooks at Rehab Without Walls in Milton Keynes, when I was adamant that I won’t always be disabled.
What I’ve now come to terms with is, that being disabled or, disadvantaged my old psychologist Declan McNichol prefers to recognise it as, isn’t that bad after all. Largely because, I’m using my disability to my advantage, I’m delivering motivational and incredibly inspirational talks about my road to recovery, whilst I’m able to ride the wheels off my trike.
Now how unrealistic am I, admitting and, accepting that I’ll always be disabled but, I do have the ability to be a top para-cyclist? That I’ll leave with each of you to decide.
I did say in a previous blog, that wouldn’t it be nice to talk about something other than just cycling.
Well, I’m delighted to say that I can now do that. I’ve been contacted by Worcester University, AJ Case Management and, The University of Greenwich to do on-line talks, all using Zoom.
It will be very strange talking to a computer. I’ll have to rethink my usual patter because, I won’t have a support worker in the room to abuse like I normally have. 😂😂😂
It’ll just add another string to my ever expanding bow.