Finding a club
There are a few ‘local’ clubs to my home - both just over an hour to drive. As it stands, i’ve only been able to attend the club once, due to the lockdown and other training commitments. Having said that, I used my time at the club to pick up on the basics, with a view to practising at home.
Getting a wheelchair
I first looked into Wheelchair Racing, after running quite a few marathons and struggling with the time on feet. As I have a spinal cord injury, there are other complications that make running for 4 hours really quite tricky. As a solution, I thought that Wheelchair Racing would also allow me the opportunity to race, should I have any complications, and be unable to run.
I was extremely fortunate, to have received sponsorship for my chair, through Essity, who have supported my journey. After heading to the manufacturers on a number of occasions, my chair was delivered and I was off!
Setting up in the wheelchair
Let me make this very clear - Wheelchair Racing is uncomfortable……very uncomfortable.
If you’re sitting in the ideal position, the wheelchair is extremely tight it can take quite a while to build up a tolerance to the position you have to be in.
There are two sitting options within racing - kneeling or sitting. The kneeling option is preferable, often used by those with a spinal injury or for those without feeling in the lower body. On the other hand, the seated option is better for those with limited flexibility - such as myself.
As well as the sitting position, there’s also gloves to think about. With fast-moving wheels, pushing technique is very different to a standard wheelchair. It’s important to protect your hands so, gloves are an essential investment.
My first ‘race’
After my surgery in July, I wasn’t able to run standing up, so I decided to use my racing wheelchair to complete the marathon distance. In typical Jamie Gane-style, I set off without any preparations or considerations - it was incredibly tough. It was raining, with wind coming from all of the angles. I was racing round a running track, completely frozen and feeling as though I was fighting a loosing battle. It wasn’t until about 6 months later, when I realised that my tyres were actually pumped to half the recommended pressure….no wonder it was so challenging!
As you can imagine, getting a Racing Wheelchair into a car is pretty challenging. The wheels have to be removed, by using an allen key and the remaining chair is pushed through to the steering wheel, allowing very little space for the driver. Because of this, it has had an impact on the amount I am able to use my chair.
The ideal terrain
As I have said above, racing is difficult. Difficult on the flat and essentially impossible (at least for me at the moment) with hills.
Because of the nature of a racing chair, it’s best to push on flat, level ground. On a racing track, or on great terrain, racers frequently race a sub-15 minute 5k!
After racing on the track a number of times, I decided to venture out on the roads with a friend, who cycled alongside me. Clearly wearing a helmet, it was so exhilarating. It was incredibly hilly, but on the way down, I hit speeds of almost 24 miles an hour - I was also petrified at the same time.
If you haven’t quite got the gist of my message above, wheelchair racing is hard..very hard. The professionals that you see, racing around the track, are highly trained, with incredible talents and a lot of experience.
I’m thoroughly enjoying my wheelchair racing and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to race in a wide variety of races - from the London Marathon, to local 5ks. I am incredibly lucky to have the support of Essity and I cannot wait to continue with the training, to be able to consistently achieve a faster pace.
Onwards and upwards!
MAY 5, 2021
Teacher of Mathematics from Basingstoke
Age group: 25-29
Para OCR Races - An Exciting Updateby Jamie Gane / Nov. 25, 2022
If you have been following my journey for a little while, you may have noticed that I have been campaigning for more inclusion within competitive Obstacle Course Races (OCRs). This blog aims to give you an update of what’s happening in the world of para/adaptive inclusion within obstacle racing.
Recovering from Surgery - Tips & Tricksby Jamie Gane / Nov. 08, 2022
As someone who has now undergone over 50 operations, I am accustomed to bouncing back after both minor and major surgical procedures. As i’ve just recently had a larger operation, here are my hints and tips for how to recover or keep yourself occupied during your recovery.
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In the past, I have frequently said ‘I don’t think i’m going to have time to train today,’ or ‘I wish I had more hours in the day to train.’ While this blog certainly won’t extend your day by a couple of hours, it might just change your mindset, to find productivity in running.
Running Blades - The Factsby Jamie Gane / Jan. 28, 2021
Since the 2012 Paralympics, running blades have been put into the spotlight, with people now able to recognise what they are used for. With more and more people being offered or exploring the opportunity to run with a running blade, I thought I would explore the facts. Are there different types? When would you use one? What’s the grip like?…all will be answered!
Creating Accessible Racing Eventsby Jamie Gane / Sep. 25, 2020
With races and events cancelled across the globe, there are plenty of new opportunities for event organisers to reach out to a new community of disabled athletes. When the word ‘accessible’ is mentioned for events and races, it often sets out panic to organisers, who picture wheelchair ramps, toilets and lifts. In reality, creating accessible events can be relatively simple and just making an effort to include disabled athletes can have huge benefits for everyone involved.
Why Everyone is a Runnerby Jamie Gane / May. 05, 2020
In the world of the media portraying the perfect body, 6-minute miles and chiselled, mid-20s torsos, what does it really mean to be a runner? The label ‘runner’ really is real-identifying so how do you get feel like a runner when in your head, you may be thinking that you’re too slow, too big or too old?
Appreciating Your Own Companyby Jamie Gane / Apr. 16, 2020
As humans, we tend to be social creatures and for those who especially enjoy the company of others, the current climate is particularly challenging. Whether you’re isolating on your own or with family, for some, this period is maybe the most time you have spent with yourself in a while. It’s evident that spending time with yourself allows for a really great opportunity to learn to love your own company but this blog will help you to understand how to to start appreciating this time.
Staying Focused on Your Goalsby Jamie Gane / Mar. 19, 2020
As we come into March, those January goals are either completely on track on just on the cusp of abandonment (if they haven’t already been scrapped and if you can even remember what they are). So, with this in mind, how do you keep your motivation and maintain your healthy habits while enjoying the process?
Why My Races Have Two Resultsby Jamie Gane / Sep. 10, 2019
Official results and personal bests, often the only records we count when looking at achievement. Always taking into account two separate times, why are my official times and adjusted times different?. This blog looks my progression away from official results and looking at what it takes to count a personal best.
Adaptive Athlete OCR Eligibility Reformby Jamie Gane / Aug. 13, 2019
For many able-bodied athletes, qualification to the European and World Obstacle Course Racing Championships can be extremely difficult. In some races, an individual needs to be placed in the top 5 within their age group to qualify and this can take an athlete several attempts to achieve. Now imagine being an amputee, a visually impaired runner or a wheelchair athlete and having to still achieve a top-5 result against able-bodied individuals.
LGBT Sport Participationby Jamie Gane / Jun. 30, 2019
In the UK, the number of people who regularly take part in sport is increasing however, the all the numbers point towards an underrepresentation of LGBT participants. In a world heading towards equality and acceptance, why don’t the numbers add up? What are the options for LGBT participants?
Body Positivity as an Amputeeby Jamie Gane / Jun. 05, 2019
Body Image - how we think and feel about our bodies. Ever-evolving and heavily influenced by others and the media. Rewind back to the 19th century where amputees were being marketed as freaks within the circus, we as a society have certainly come a long way. It wasn’t until the promotion of the London 2012 Paralympic games where we saw those with limb differences were actively being promoted with their positives.
My Battle into Runningby Jamie Gane / Apr. 01, 2019
Feeling the breeze in my hair, seeing the world from a foot taller and the ability to conquer the previously unconquerable – all experiences I felt when I started running after 14 years in a wheelchair. Get your reading glasses on as I tell you the story of how I lost my leg and started the battle to begin to win the long run.
What Does it Take to Finance Sport?by Jamie Gane / Mar. 27, 2019
What does it take to finance a career in sport? It's certainly a juggle for me to balance finances and training but my juggle of jobs keeps me motivated, flexible for training and most importantly, happy. In order for me to fund my sports, I have 8 different jobs, with multiple organisations and with a wide range of roles.
The Nuts Challenge OCR Reviewby Jamie Gane / Mar. 25, 2019
Last year, I was looking through the Obstacle Course Race World Championships (OCRWC) qualification criteria and came across The Nuts Challenge. I remember the title of the run catching my attention but wondering really how nuts it would be…..I guess that I was soon to find out..
Preparing for Your First OCRby Jamie Gane / Jun. 24, 2019
Congratulation! You’ve signed up for your first OCR (Obstacle Course Race) or at the very least, you’re thinking about signing up. You’ve taken your first step to entering a community and starting a race like no other. Obstacle Racing is pretty challenging with lots of crawling, climbing, jumping and sliding but check out these tips on how to prepare for your first OCR.
Rest Days are Your Best Daysby Jamie Gane / Jan. 29, 2019
When you’re in a routine and on a roll with your training, you don’t want to think about rest days. The thought of stopping for the day seems pretty daunting, let alone stopping for a week! Despite the daunting nature of rest days, they really can be your best days of training, allowing you to recover, re-group and re-align your goals.
A Different View on Disabilityby Jamie Gane / Jan. 08, 2019
The Winter Wonderwheels event, as part of the Superhero Series, is the UK’s only disability sports event for everyday Superheroes! They create a really fun, personally challenging environment for those with disabilities without the worry of time or equipment restrictions. Whether you have none, one or two feet, travelling in a wheelchair or flying in a rocket, nothing is impossible - I’m yet to see a rocket though!
Exploring New Sports as an Amputeeby Jamie Gane / Dec. 04, 2018
Finding and discovering a new sport as an amputee can be very daunting but also extremely rewarding. It's difficult to find clubs that are able to cater for your adaptations and confidence is needed to join an able-bodied club but it does host a whole load of benefits.
Jamie Gane - 2019 Goals & Plansby Jamie Gane / Nov. 20, 2018
2018 was my year of experimentation. A year, my first full year of walking, to see where I wanted to take my life and career. With incredible opportunities taken and awesome teams joined, the 2018 season is almost at its end. So with that in mind, where do I see my plans heading for 2019?
There's No 'I' in Frontrunnerby Jamie Gane / Oct. 30, 2018
The ASICS frontrunners are a team - a team of like-minded and talented individuals in the pursuit of movement. Whether that’s running, cycling, walking, swimming or judo, the team pulls together the experiences and talents of others to share within the group and to inspire others into movement. Until this weekend, I thought I knew what it was to be an ASICS Frontrunner but the past few days in Dublin have really opened my eyes.
Tips on Running at Nightby Jamie Gane / Nov. 20, 2018
As we now start to venture into darkened nights, we now find that our runs start to get darker and darker. Not only are we having to think about how to be seen but also how to see as well as all of the other challenges that running at night has. Whether you are going for a jog in low light or running throughout the night, this blog will give you some tips and hints as to how to manage it.
1 Weekend, 1 Leg, 50 Miles of Runningby Jamie Gane / Oct. 08, 2018
In Berlin's version of Europe's Toughest Mudder, I managed to break the amputee record by 5 miles and 25 minutes. I didn't feel prepared or ready for the race and had no intention of breaking a record but here's my breakdown of the weekend!
Why Do Judo When You're an Amputee?by Jamie Gane / Sep. 11, 2018
People often ask me - 'Why do Judo when you're the only amputee?' or 'Surely it's really unfair that you fight against two-legged people......why do you even bother?' Here's are some of the reasons for me to just be part of an amazing sport, despite a huge disadvantage:
Runner's Anxiety is Real but Manageableby Jamie Gane / Aug. 20, 2018
Your heart is pounding, you're sweating and you haven't even started running yet. You feel a pit in your stomach while butterflies work their magic inside of you, eating away at any confidence left - these are all very common feelings for an individual with runners anxiety. So what is runners anxiety and what can you do to help manage it?
Discovering my Life Valuesby Jamie Gane / May. 23, 2018
Values help us decide what is important in life and where our priorities lie. They help us to differentiate between two alternate options but with so many to choose from, which ones fall into my top 5? I met yesterday with one of my mentors from the True Athlete Programme, where we worked together to find values, and the meaning of those values. We discussed how values naturally change over time and they can be used as a tool to measure how well you're sticking to your life plan. Fortunately, the values I discovered can form the acronym B-HELD, with an aim for me to be held up through these values. Here's what they stand for:
Wheelchair User to Marathon Runnerby Jamie Gane / Apr. 25, 2018
If you would have told me in April 2017 that I would be running the 2018 London Marathon, I would have never believed you. This time last year (mid-May 2017), I had just received my first walkable prosthetic leg, following my amputation in late 2016 and started to walk with two crutches. It is with great pride that I am able to say that I have completed a marathon: and here's how I did it:
Running with a Running Bladeby Jamie Gane / Mar. 28, 2018
I'm standing in a queue at an event, while waiting to collect my race number, when I notice someone suddenly look down and notice my Blade XT - a very common situation for me. Whereas most British people would talk about the weather or politics, I am asked what it is like to run on a blade. My honest answer to them is generally that I don't know any different as, despite being a new amputee and only being able to run for less than a year, I have never been able to run with two feet.