Medals from a Paralympian champion

Swapping journalism stories with Rowina on the home run. Photo copyright Andrew Thrippleton
Swapping journalism stories with Rowena on the home run. Photo copyright Andrew Thrippleton

There’s that tipping point when foot hits rut and the horizon tilts past 45 degrees that ground contact with legs, arms and running number becomes inevitable. Yesterday, I tipped that point.

People tell me I have a loud voice, I just think it was the echo across the valley spanning Marsden Moor, but the runner in front heard and came back to help. I wasn’t hurt, just a little winded and now sporting a rather fetching peaty stripe down one side and the beginnings of what promised to be massive bruises on my thigh, calf, arm and shoulder….

It turned out I had a lot in common with my running companion, Rowena, for she too trained as a journalist. As we headed downhill for the last three miles of the Marsden Ten Mile Challenge, we swapped stories of how we had to go out and hunt for stories, none of this cut-and-paste find-it-on-the-internet stuff, we found our stories and damned good they were too. Proper investigative stuff requiring lots of legwork.

I was most thankful for her company, a fellow runner, a fellow hack, someone to enjoy the scenery with and someone to take my mind off the throbbing bruises. We crossed the line together to be met by a familiar face from my long-ago journalism days handing out the medals.

Paul Cartwright had been a regular feature in my reporter’s notebook in my days at the Batley News. A national and international wheelchair racing champion throughout the 1980s at a time when the Paralympics weren’t really on the radar of the sports-watching public. I certainly recognised him, he’d gone on to win medals and represent his country many times and is still active as a power lifter. He was handing out the medals in his role as Ambassador for the Hollybank School in Mirfield, which caters for children and young people with special and complex needs and was the chosen charity for the run I’d just fallen over in.

A lovely end to an eventful day, all that remained was to fall over again for the group photo with my team mates from Eccleshill Road Runners, thank the marshalls from Colne Valley Lions, help polish off the home-made cornish pasties laid on for the runners and return home to blog about it.

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