Like others all across the UK I was spellbound by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and it wasn’t just the sport… it was the electricity in the air, it was the collective community consciousness and for me it was about the big bright light put on disability never before witnessed in the four corners of the UK.
My day-to-day life consists of surmounting hurdles that a non-disabled person would never encounter. Whether crossing the road, accessing public transport or overcoming stereotypes, there are always additional challenges to overcome. So taking up the mantel from last year’s Games I wanted to do something big to help people understand the challenges I and many others face on a daily basis, and to raise money for my favourite charity, Scope.
Today as I announce my role as an ambassador for Britain’s Personal Best, I have set myself the greatest challenge of my life… to pilot my wheelchair every inch of the 970 miles from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. I will begin my journey in September and aim to complete on 5 October in time for the Britain’s Personal Best big weekend 4-6 October.
During the Games the recording of competitors’ ‘personal best’s or ‘PBs’ became commonplace as athletes secured lifetime achievements. The idea behind Britain’s Personal Best is simple; it takes the notion of the ‘Personal Best’ and transitions it from its current association with elite athletic accomplishment and instead invites everyone in the UK to achieve a ‘PB’ as part of a new annual national celebration of personal achievement.
I want to inspire other disabled people to achieve their own personal best and encourage non-disabled people to challenge their own preconceptions of disability and promote integration and inclusion by sharing the experience with my non-disabled girlfriend who has decided to join me by cycling the route alongside me.
With Britain’s Personal Best we are building on how inspired the UK felt after London 2012. It is a call for each and every one of us to dig deep and find something amazing that shows us at our own personal best. Whatever our age, ability or resources. It’s about helping each other and ourselves, taking on a challenge that is intellectual, sporting, artistic, healthy or just plain scary. Personally, I’m excited to challenge myself following in the footsteps of those inspiring Olympians from the Olympic and Paralympic games. It won’t be easy physically, technically and logistically, but that’s par for the course.
I also want to encourage others to challenge their personal best. It doesn’t need to be as crazy as mine; just leave your comfort zone, stretch yourself and have fun! Some people will be raising money for their favourite charities, doing something that they have never achieved before, be it rock climbing, or forming a new business, together or as individuals. The first step, to log on and register at www.whatsyours.org
I care about disability and I care that the big bright light from last years Games doesn’t go out. So this will be my personal best… what’s yours?
Britain’s Personal Best big weekend will take place 4-6 October 2013. To help out:
1. Watch our new promotional video, and share it on your blog and/or Twitter and Facebook, using the #PersonalBest hashtag;
2. Register your own personal best at our website, http://www.