Running and Rolling
I never thought running would make as much difference as what it has. I didn’t start running until early 2015 when my friend introduced me to parkrun. After a couple of months I took the brave step and joined sweatshop running community. I used to hear others talk about 10K’s, Half and Full Marathons. Names like Abbey Dash, Mad Dog, Rock n Roll, GNR and Jane Tomlinson Run For All would pop up.
I always fancied trying the Leeds Half, however my first experience of it was in my wheelchair on the side lines whilst on a few hours ‘relief’ break from the hospital ward. I had collapsed, was left paralysed in March 2016, and spent most of the year on and off in hospital until it was discovered I was suffering from Lyme disease. It was emotional watching and cheering everyone and seeing my friends run it, I got choked up. It made me determined to get back running.
Not being able to run, I adapted with the support and help of my running/racing friends and boyfriend Ash. I took up wheelchair racing with Leeds City WCR and met another bunch of ace friends. Leeds City WCR enabled me to take the frustration I had with my legs out on the race track and supported my friend Michelle and I to race Mad Dog 10k in loaned race chairs to raise money for Michelle to get her own race chair. We came first and second, very proud moment!
I consider myself very lucky with the friends I have through running and racing, they’ve all had a massive impact on my recovery. Their support at the Abbey Dash last year, all dressing as superheroes, pushing my wheelchair and allowing me to lean on them when walking some of the route, gave me a boost and filled me with pride.
I plan to build toward doing the Leeds 10K and Leeds Half, but can’t imagine doing this without friends. That’s the best part to running and races, it’s the social aspect, the atmosphere and how good it makes you feel! The crowds (especially at the Leeds Half) carry you round with the cheering, the atmosphere whether you’re running or supporting is phenomenal.
I can’t wait for my first official race back, to feel my feet hit the road and hear my trainers strike the ground with everyone else’s, it’s a great feeling! It’s good to be back on my legs and running and I’ll always be grateful for it!
By Kirsty Shepherd