Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Admiration for tenacity.

On Friday 13th September 2002 Philip Sheridan had a very bad motor cycle accident on the road to Whitby. His right leg was shattered and he also had severe injuries to his left leg, arms and shoulder. As a result his right leg was amputated.

Philip had been a keen runner as well as a keen motor cyclist but as he was in a wheelchair for a year after his accident, he felt his running career was well and truly over. But there is no substitute for tenacity and during the last ten years he has completely rebuilt his life and has taken up blade running.

Now, to mark the tenth anniversary of his terrible accident he is blade running the Dales Way. This footpath runs from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, through spectacular Dales scenery, including the Three Peaks and the Ribble head viaduct, finishing in Bowness in Windermere. He aims to do the run - 80 miles - over just three days.

He will be wearing an Ossur running leg - the lower blade made from carbon fibre and the shank from aluminium - all fitted to his knee with a special socket. One of his heroes and inspirations is the South African runner Oscar Pistorius, who runs on a similar Icelandic leg.

Dealing with the emotional aftermath of the accident and also getting his brain to reprogramme into learning to run in a different way are just two of the skills which he has had to learn. Don't you just have tremendous admiration for people - men and women - who overcome the odds and come out on top? I dare not think how many young men - and women - are having to face this challenge every day after war injuries.

I am reminded of Dame Tani Grey Thompson, the paralympic who told in a recent interview on radio how when she was born with her condition her father refused to have the house adapted to suit her needs, saying that she had to adapt, not the house. I think you need a special kind of strength in order to rise to that kind of challenge, but clearly both she and Phillip have got it in spades.

Good luck to him. He has a web site at www.justgiving.com/teams/DalesWayUltraRun if you feel like sponsoring this brave and fearless man. All the money raised is for charity.

10 comments:

Dave King said...

Good luck indeed. And in spades. There are so many such stories these days that they do not always have the impact that they deserve. Your piece certainly creates an appropriate response. We can but admire the pluck and, as you say, tenacity, that has achieved this. Every blessing to him and his.

Heather said...

He is an unsung hero but would probably not agree. There must be an evergrowing number of such people who overcome enormous difficulties and successfully rebuild their lives. They are an example to us all and I am filled with admiration for them.

Pondside said...

People such as this are an inspiration. It certainly gives one pause and makes the ordinary challenges of life pale in comparison.

MorningAJ said...

I think there are far more people overcoming adversity than we know. In the case of those who lose legs or arms it's obvious to the outside world. But there are many who face invisible, but very real, challenges every day with just as much courage and humility.

steven said...

the inner strength of people like philip is inspiring and reminding of how very important the quality with which we live our life is. thanks for sharing this story weaver. steven

Crafty Green Poet said...

He's certainly an inspiration!

Reader Wil said...

What an admirable man! Thanks for your comment! I am back after a delay of 26 hours due to a typhoon in Hong Kong. We spent one night sleeping on the floor of the waiting area of the airport and one day talking to fellow passengers. Now I am going to have my mail sorted out.

rkbsnana said...

An inspiration to we who complain of minor inconveniences.

patteran said...

This account is worth a barrel-load of hubristic olympics sagas!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for your visit.