Dominic is now 11 and was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was three years old. Initially, I did the ‘man’ thing and began running as a coping mechanism for myself after his diagnosis. I was running away instead of dealing with all the challenges that Dominic’s diagnosis brought and still brings into our lives.
After a couple of years of running, I came across a video of Dick and Rick Hoyt running the Boston marathon together and it flicked a switch inside me. I did a little research and thought that maybe running as a team was something I could do with Dominic. Initially, I just pushed him in a standard wheelchair around the local park to make sure it was something we could enjoy together. Then we upgraded to a running buggy which got me thinking that we should maybe enter an event. Things have now spiraled and we have competed in all distances from a 10k, half marathons, whole marathons and even an ultra-marathon over eight years of running. We have competed dressed as Ironman and Captain America, and once I was dressed as a horse. Another memorable occasion, it was a Hong Kong Phooey suit. We still enjoy running together as much as we did when we first started and are always made to feel welcome by our fellow competitors and supporters along the way, although race organisers are a different story….
We signed up for the Parallel event because we wanted to meet and compete with likeminded teams and individuals who maybe don’t get an opportunity or haven’t got the confidence to enter a standard event. We also were attracted by not being different and being in the majority which is a first for us.
Training tip: If I was to offer one training tip it would be to have fun. If you are the pusher in an assisted team, do the dull bits without your partner and ensure your time competing together is a laugh. All athletes should also have a theme tune, work out yours over the coming weeks before the race.