Guernsey Headway member Sarah Whitchurch completed her first half marathon in June. All the more remarkable when you realise that Sarah, aged 26 did this in a standard wheelchair, having contracted meningitis at the age of 11.
Clearly Sarah is one tough cookie and having watched the swimming at the Paralympics last year, and meeting Dame Tanni Grey Thompson on a recent visit to Guernsey, Sarah was inspired to set herself this challenge. Undaunted by the minor(!) inconvenience of not having a racing wheelchair, Sarah smashed through her targeted time of 5 hours, finishing in a time of 4 hours, 26 minutes.
Sarah attends Headway Guernsey regularly and along the route, she was accompanied by her Headway support team who, with her family and friends contributed to the emotional occasion.
Further good news was to come when an islander heard her on the radio expressing her desire to have a racing wheelchair so that she can compete in future road races and triathlons (Sarah is a keen swimmer) and offered the funds to get one.
So Sarah has set herself a whole host of new challenges when her racing chair arrives. She plans the half again and then hopefully the full marathon, as well as combining her swimming and athletic skills in a triathlon. In the meantime, Sarah is the first to admit that without Headway this would not have been possible. “Seeing first hand the amazing performances at the Paralympics sparked my desire to do this. Being at Headway has given me the support and encouragement to carry the challenge through – they really up my support team!”
As well as her sporting aspirations, Sarah has also recently become a Headway mentor so plans to pass on her enthusiasm and motivation onto new members. For Sarah, clearly challenges are meant to be met not feared!