Ellie Simpson – My Story
My name is Ellie, I am 22-years-old and I am in my final semester at Sheffield Hallam University studying for a degree in Sports Development with Coaching. I have Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, which affects all four of my limbs and makes my movements appear shaky and jerky.
Where it all began
My sporting journey began back in 2012 when I watched the London Paralympics from my TV – before then, I did not associate people like myself with sport at all. In early 2013, I saw that the Paralympics GB Sport Fest was coming to Sheffield – you could try out all the different Paralympic Sports and meet some of the athletes from London 2012! I went along and that one day changed my life and shaped my future. I fell in love with Athletics, specifically the Club Throw. This actually surprised me – I had gone primarily to try Horse Riding and to meet the athletes, so to come away with a passion for Athletics was a bit of a curve ball!
I then joined City of Sheffield AC and actively started training and competing in the Club Throw, which I loved. However, I really wanted to be on the track. I tried Wheelchair Racing, but I didn’t have enough hand control and coordination to propel the wheelchair. I then tried ambulant running, which always ended up in a heap on the floor at around the 20 meter mark! I was then saw this ‘thing’ hurtling down the track at a CP Sport competition whilst I was competing for the Club Throw – the ‘thing’ was what I now know very fondly as a RaceRunner, and it was my now best friend Matt who was hurtling down the track on it!
I knew I wanted to do RaceRunning from the moment I saw it. I signed up to the next CP Sport RaceRunning Taster Day and had a go on a RaceRunner in March 2015. That was it, I was hooked! I purchased my own RaceRunner and the rest as they say is history!
The impact on my life
Sport has had a major positive impact on my life physically, socially & academically. Physically I have improved a lot since becoming involved in sport – I now find that things in my everyday life are a little easier, e.g. negotiating steps, and my overall coordination has improved. Socially I have made the best friends through sport who I now couldn’t imagine life without – we always have a laugh and lots of fun, probably too much! Academically sport has opened doors to brand new opportunities – I am just about to complete a degree in Sport Development with Coaching, which would have never crossed my mind to investigate when I left school nearly 5-years-ago.
Being selected for the 2015 World CP Games was amazing, and then winning double Gold was even more amazing! To top it all off, I was then at the end of 2015 World ranked number 1 in the RR2 female classification across all of my distances!
In 2016, I was lucky enough to compete at the European Championships in Denmark. Unfortunately, I was reclassified as an RR3 when I was out there. Even though I really struggled to adapt to this new classification, I still got personal bests across all distances in Denmark and made all of the final races from the heats. In the 100m final, I narrowly missed out on the Bronze medal by half a wheel with a photo finish and a massive PB. I have never been so proud but so gutted all at the same time!
Goals and ambitions
This season, I hope to beat my PB’s again. I really hope that next year brings another World Games – I had the time of my life and it would mean everything to go to another World Games.
In the long term, my dream is for RaceRunning to become IPC approved and to reach the Paralympics. I am confident that it’ll happen one day!
Ellie is a Young Sporting Ambassador for Cerebral Palsy Sport –
“I am so honoured that Cerebral Palsy Sport have chosen me to be a Young Ambassador, and alongside my best friend Matthew, who I also met through CP Sport. CP Sport has changed my life and they got me into RaceRunning – a sport that I love and couldn’t imagine my life without. I am so excited about being a Young Ambassador for CP Sport and I can’t wait to show other young people with Cerebral Palsy & physical disabilities all about CP Sport & how they can get involved in all of the sports, events and opportunities!”