Sport has been a big part of my life since I was 10. I first played Boccia in the Surrey Youth Games in 2004 and discovered I was very competitive. Boccia became, and still is my passion, I’ve always wanted to medal at the Paralympics. For years I have trained hard, most weekends and several times a week. In 2015 I had a setback, I was throwing as a BC1 for England when due to a medical condition I could no longer compete. I’d worn skins for years to throw and when, due to severe overheating, I could no longer wear them I discovered I was unable to pick up a ball, never mind lift it.
It would have been easy to stop but instead I decided my dream need not end, I could still be a ramp player if I was re-classified. This took several months, but eventually I was classified as a BC3 athlete and my journey in the late summer of 2016 began again. What became clear was that I needed to dramatically improve my core strength and head control. My training regime has always included gym work and hydrotherapy as well as daily exercises, but I needed more.
Around this time I found RaceRunning and this has changed my life, I love it. My hands are still unable to manage a ball, but the rest of my body is dramatically improved by training 2-3 times a week. Last summer I competed in the CP Sport series and at the RaceRunning World Championships in Denmark where I got a bronze in the 60m and came 6th in the 100m (and with a broken hand). I’ve now been selected for the CPISRA World Games in San Cugat in August 2018. Week on week in training I am improving my training times and very hopeful for some PBs this coming season.
Meanwhile, I feel my boccia is going from strength to strength. I still do 2 PT sessions a week, boccia training and hydrotherapy but I have added in RaceRunning and the benefits are clear; I am stronger, fitter and healthier, I get cardio-vascular exercise so my stamina has improved, my core and range of movement means I am both more still on court but I can also reach awkward shots, and then my concentration, focus and mood has improved, so has my attitude on court.
I recommend both sports; Boccia is strategic and I really use my brain whereas RaceRunning in more physical so they complement each other. I’m still aiming to represent GB in 2024, the big challenge now will be in what sport!