Running was my thing for so many years. Back in 2015, whilst I was serving in the RAF, I picked up an ankle injury and following a few unsuccessful surgeries and despite intensive rehabilitation, I was medically discharged and still use a crutch to this day.
When I was first told that I would never run again I was devastated. It was all I did. Like I said, it was my thing and I was heartbroken. But after a few years of feeling incredibly sorry for myself I decided to get back into the mountains, my other love and my escape. I found that despite the fact I used crutches and even though it took me longer than most people I could make it to the top and I felt alive again.
In the years since I have built my strength, learned to accept the chronic pain, and have been able to drop one of the crutches. I have been on a mission to tick off all of the Wainwright fells in the Lake District since 2017, and as of mid-February 2022, I am down to my last 60! I plan to finish by September this year. Taking on this challenge has given me my confidence back. I focus now on what I can do, not what I can't. I hiked my first marathon last year and have plans for a 50km Ultra this year as well as hiking the Cumbria Way and a George Fisher Tea Round.
It's not all been plain sailing. There have been tears - both happy and sad. But I have found that the mountains act as my natural pain relief. Whilst I am up there, I feel completely free.