A day of filming in St Ives with trail blade runner Philip Sheridan. No, not St Ives Cornwall, but St Ives Yorkshire (In the borough of Bingley). To my surprise such a place really exists and what a beautiful place it is too.
My memories of St Ives Cornwall stretch into memories of days of exceptional clear daylight, fantastic beaches, Rattler cider plus visits to Barbara Hepworth’s house (artist and sculptress).
Now I find myself here with Philip, taking photos and filming Phil on the run. Philip is telling me a story of what can be achieved in life. This is far from being a verbal story though – my eyes and cameras take it in.
Here’s his story.
“I love to run trails and have worked hard to regain the strength and proprioception to run well off road using a blade prosthesis like the Flex-Run. It is no easy feat, excuse the pun, with tree roots, small loose rocks, mud and boulders all proving exceptionally difficult to negotiate. I love the outdoors, running within the landscape proves a beneficial therapy both physically and emotionally and acts as a means to immerse myself both in nature and fully within my nature. Trail running draws on a life accumulating the knowledge, skills and resilience to look after myself. When I run on the trails I remember and appreciate all who supported me through some very difficult times.
I had a motorbike accident on Friday 13th September 2002. I collided with a large lorry and sustained serious fractures and soft tissue injuries throughout my body. After doctors saved my life and several operations later, I accepted the difficult decision to have my right leg amputated just below the knee.
I returned to work at Leeds City Council, Children’s Services, as a manager within six months, just after receiving my first prosthetic leg relying on crutches for support. I battled over the next 3 years to overcome the painful injuries and difficulties of walking after being so poorly. The fantastic support I received from my family, friends and colleagues proved a vital element in enabling me to recover and sustain the painful rehabilitation.
It took tenacity and determination to learn to walk again, especially with the constant pain from the metal plate used to hold my right femur together. I had one more final operation in early 2010 to remove the screws and plate. I returned to my wheelchair for a month, but after 8 years I discovered the potential to run again, something I had ruled out of the question. I began the slow inexorable process by running an exhausting few metres every day, but slowly, surely I extended the distance I could run.
I have loved the outdoors since my earliest memories of family camping holidays and walking the fells and mountains of the England, Scotland and Wales. I acquired my early skills and knowledge in self-reliance from my father and his father, as well as in the local scouts. I left school at 18 and hitchhiked around the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia. I climbed up into the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite Valley and had a very close encounter with black bears and had the privilege to meet and live with various indigenous peoples across North America, Mexico and Australia. They taught me so much by example about respect for oneself, and by extension, respect for others and the land upon which we live.
I intend to run the Dales Way long distance trail commencing 13th September 2012, a distance of over 80 miles / 135 km, in three days, that’s over a marathon a day off road trail running, all for the following charities:
Martin House Hospice for Children
Mind – the mental health charity
Combat Stress – the Veterans’ Mental Health Charity
Survival International – campaigning for tribal peoples self-determination
You can go to my fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/DalesWayUltraRun
Each mile I travel will equate to two miles travelled by an able bodied trail runner. You can do the maths if you like to figure out what that will mean for me.
Just because something seems impossible today, doesn’t mean it won’t become possible tomorrow.”