The London Marathon is back this weekend, with the postponed 2020 event finally going ahead on Sunday 3 October. Matt, one of the lovely runners in #TeamScope, told us about his experience as the first person to take part in the iconic event using a frame runner, and how important staying active is for him.
I started running using a racerunner (now called a frame runner) when I was 13 years old, after meeting a Scottish athlete at a Cerebral Palsy sports athletics activity day.
That changed my life and made me realise I could have the freedom and fun of running independently again.
Running gives me a sense of freedom and accomplishment. Even with a physical disability that affects my walking, movements, and speech, I can run as far and as fast as I want. I never thought I’d be able to run a marathon, but now I know it’s possible.
I was aware of Scope championing disabled people to be better supported and represented. These things are very important, and I was pleased when Scope accepted me to have a place running the 2020 London Marathon.
The support I’ve received has been great. Even throughout the pandemic I was still able to fundraise and I even completed the virtual marathon. I can’t wait to take part in the actual race in London this weekend.
Training for the marathon
Training for the marathon has been hard due to the Covid restrictions. But training with a large running frame has its own difficulties, like needing suitable tracks or paths to run on, and finding people to help train and drive me around. The feeling of running and the achievement that brings makes it all worthwhile.
Training with Sam, Adam, or Ross (my PAs) has been fun, though I’m not sure they always feel this is the case when they’re on their bikes training with me. I’ve had great support from my mum, but also my coach Phil, who used to train me to run the sprints. I’ve recently joined a local running club, who have been great at finding trails I can join in with. I’ve only managed to break 3 wheels in the last few months!
Looking to the future
In the future I want to set up a club locally for frame running. There are some, but they generally use athletics tracks. I’m lucky to live in the National Forest area, where there are lots of cycle tracks and trails that are suitable for frame runners, so I want to have a club running on these.
I hope that my running the marathon may encourage and inspire more physically disabled people to have a go at frame running, and get active in any way, shape, or form. Hopefully there will be other marathon runners in the future on frame runners.
I know my body isn’t behaving as I would like and my dystonia is getting worse, but I plan to carry on running and achieving everything I can. When I’m not on my frame runner I have had to rely more recently on my power chair, and people always struggle to believe I’m able to run a marathon. I can’t wait to show everyone what frame running has allowed me to achieve.