Marks 2k event

Marks 2k event

Sunday the 6th of January, what a beautiful day it was!!

For those of you who read my blog about Mark and his first ever event you’ll know what an epic achievement it was for him and what it meant to him.¬† This is the next chapter in his story ūüôā


Having enjoyed the Robin Hood mile event with the Virtual Runner Team, Mark had caught ‘the bug’.¬† He asked if we could do another event so he had a goal to train for.¬† I knew the Virtual Runner Live event would be ideal for him as the support would be amazing and he’d already met some of the team.¬† Since Septemeber Mark has been going to the gym 2-3 times a week and started to encorporate free weights such as bench press and shoulder exercises.¬† He’s worked hard and is now a well known face at Kimberley¬†Leisure Centre.¬† The staff and members there have been so supportive and theres always been someone to help him out if he need anything.¬† He’s progressed onto two sticks now when walking which means he can split his weight and not rely soley on his right arm to push through.¬† He’s also been practicing with a wheeled walking frame.

And they’re off!

Sunday morning came and Mark was nervous again but much less so than for his first event.  We had a lift so it made the journey less stressful as there was no faffing about with trams and buses.  We arrived early and Mark was interviewed by a camera crew looking for inspirational stories related to VR.  Then suddenly it was nearly time to set off for the 5k event and Mark nervously announced he needed the loo.  We had a mad dash back to the school and by the time we got back the 2k event was just setting off.  Anyway we set off undetered, Mark using his walking frame for support.  Thankfully the route was on tarmaced paths as the frame is really only suitable for indoor use and doesnt cope well with outdoor paths.

We couldnt believe how lucky we were with the weather as the sun was out and the sky was blue.¬† Mark set off great guns and didnt rest until we’d gone about 200mts.¬† Slow and steady was our motto so we just took our time and set little goals to reach before he could have a rest.¬† He sat down a couple of times in his chair but never once did I have to push him in it. Half way came and went and my partner Steve stood in as the turning bollard as the actual one had been taken down.

We were then on the return leg and slowly we counted down lamposts and fences.¬† We could hear people shouting encouragement to Mark as we approached the finishing straight and as we got to within 150 metres ‘The Final Countdown’ blared out over the loud speaker.¬† Mark set his determined face and headed for the line.

Once again the support at the finishing line was heartwarming and rousing¬† and as Mark crossed the finish line I could see he was emotional.¬† We had a big hug and I could feel him shaking. This means so much to him.¬† This time last year Mark sat at home on his own most days, couldnt walk more than a few steps around the house and had never even dreamed he’d be part of such an awesome running community.¬† Now look at him!

Susan from VR presented him with his medal and he was photographed like a champion. He’s so proud of his medals and shows everyone with pride. Thankfully VR are hosting a summer event so Mark has already set his sights on another medal.¬† These sort of events are such a great way for people with a disability to still be involved in something memorable and earn medals.¬† So a massive thank you to Susan and all the team at Virtual Runner UK¬†

Marks story really is remarkable.¬† He’s survived so much and come so far and I know he is keen to achieve more.¬† My only slight concern is that he saw all the bright running kit at the event and is now talking about getting some leggings with skulls on.¬† Oh dear what have I started??

Going to the gym has changed his life and he’s shown that having a physical disability doesnt have to limit you.¬† The only limit is yourself.

So think big, set your sights high and reach for the starts.  Who knows you might just catch one.


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