Charlie – My Story
Charlie is seventeen and currently lives in Coleford in the Forest of Dean, she was born with congenital ataxic cerebral palsy, with quadriplegia. She is unable to walk unsupported, although she can walk with the use of a walking frame. Her condition also causes difficulty in coordination, balance, visual impairment, speech impediment and mild to moderate learning difficulties. Charlie attends her local College and has a wonderful personality and spirit.
Where it all began
Two years ago, Charlie began to attend a local RaceRunning group, on a Sunday morning in an all ability athletics session at the Blackbridge Athletics Track in Gloucester. Charlie loved the ability to run for the first time in her life. The RaceRunner gave Charlie the ability to actually lose her breath whilst exercising for the first time, Charlie was hooked.
She became a keen attender and progressed so well that she represented England at the CPISRA World Championships in Denmark in July 2017. The times set in Copenhagen and the English National championships she gained selection to represent England at the World Games in Barcelona in August 2018.
Charlie started to train competitively in January 2018 by joining Gloucester Para Athletics Club, where she also met Bob Purcell her coach. The hard work really paid off with Charlie gaining some astonishing pb’s, we went to Barcelona hopeful of possibly gaining a medal or two.
Charlie came away from the games with:
100m RR3 = silver
200m RR3 = Bronze
400m RR3 = Gold
800m RR3 = Bronze
She medalled in every event entered; she gained pb’s in the 200 & 400m when she became the World Champion.
She came back to the UK to compete in the English Championships and gain 4 gold medals, setting a UK record for the 1,500m event.
Charlie is currently Gloucestershire’s Disability Performer of the Year 2018 and Sports Personality of the Year 2018. She won against some extremely tough competition, especially in Andy Lewis, finding the whole event extremely inspiring and motivational.
Charlie is keen to inspire other children and has returned to her previous schools to show them her medals and talk about RaceRunning and all its benefits. Something, she hopes to continue in the future.
Next year Charlie’s has gained selection for the British Athletics Paralympic Development Academy. This will allow Charlie to accelerate her athletic development in the hope of gaining GB selection. Only athletes who have potential to compete in a future Paralympic games are considered for the camp.
The impact of sport
As well as the increase in fitness and wellbeing which RaceRunning has given to Charlie, it has led to a great increase in her self-confidence and opportunities for friendships with other athletes from the UK and beyond.