The Next Phase – 2.6 for 26

Week two done & 36.4 miles travelled so far

The weather has been good to me so far. It has been a little warm for the past three days which makes me more determined to get up early to get out and do it. But, on the flip side, evening pushes have been a pleasure as well. The sun dipping in the distance casting long shadows that follow me on my quest to complete this challenge. The Next Phase – 2.6 for 26 has been completed.

The money raised will go towards new Basketball equipment at Bourne End Junior Sports Club. Balls, hoops and nets. If enough is raised, then backboards and cones would be an added extra.

Half term break

There was a week off during half term, and when we returned, the players really got involved. It was great to witness them develop their ball skills and work in teams. There is a mixture of ages, but everyone plays well together. After a few drills and mini shooting competitions, the games start. The older members are aware; the younger kids sometimes don’t get many opportunities with handling the ball. So they make sure everyone gets a chance. There is a lot of running around, whistleblowing from coach David and myself to call orders and keep everything running smoothly.

Back to pushing

Meandering through the village daily, routes are chosen as I go. However, Thursday’s route was a mistake. I realised it as soon as I moved off. I had an image in my head of where I would go, avoiding the parked cars I knew would be on the paths blocking my way. Only to be hindered by household waste bins.

wheelchair and bins

Thursday is BIN DAY for part of the village where I live. So the next phase – 2.6 for 26 could be a challenge. Credit where it is due, being a bin man, or refuse collector, must be tough. Always competing with traffic when dragging bins across the road to the waste collection vehicle (WCV), then returning the bins to the same spot, ish! Keeping up with the WCV, OK, it’s not fast but pretty much constantly creeping along. And then there is the smell. I can’t imagine being a refuse collector and having to run, with a bin, to the WCV and then hold a breath every time you introduce the wheelie bin to the clamps that lift and tip the contents of the household bi-weekly rubbish. Then retrieve it again.

Good work fellers!

Company for the the next phase – 2.6 for 26

While pushing around on my own, I usually have some music to accompany me (Incubus last week, Weller this week). It’s nice to go around with a companion also. Big sister joined me on Sunday again, setting the pace, although I think I slowed her down this time.

On Saturday, it was great to be joined by wheelchair basketball player GB potential, PJ. PJ used to play for Aylesbury Ace’s juniors when I played for the senior team but now plays for Thames Valley Kings. I had met his dad, Pat, on the court-side. Pat contacted me through social media messaging and said PJ wanted to join me on a route. So Saturday, we went out; PJ set the pace, which was steady. Thanks for joining me, PJ.

At the start of this week, the coms officer from BEJSC, Martina, came for the experience. I think it was quite an eye-opener for her to go round with me, seeing all the environmental challenges I face along the route, the undulating terrain, paths littered with tree debris, the repeated mounting of kerbs, whether normal height or dropped and getting over the blister pads that mark crossings for visually impaired.

An early start this morning and Wheelchair Rugby player and specialist vehicle repairs garage owner Neville Davis came to accompany me and encourage me along the way. Thanks for the support, Nev.

14 down, 12 to go

Fourteen days done, a total of 36.4 miles completed – remember, this is on top, ADDED TO, the daily pushing I do in my wheelchair in my quest of the next phase – 2.6 for 26. My shoulders are holding out. Regular stretching and weight training on all muscle groups are helping keep them in shape. My shoulders are the most important thing for me. Every transfer I do, I rely on them, every time I need to get from A to B. If they give discomfort or weaken, resulting in an inability to lift my body weight to transfer (I don’t sleep in my wheelchair!) or allow me to propel my wheelchair, take my son to school, or run my business, I’m in trouble!

A big shout out

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. To the people who have accompanied me along the road, the drivers giving way when I need to cross, to those who have contributed financially and the ones who have given me a shout out.

If you’re interested in sponsoring this challenge, please follow this link.

1 thought on “The Next Phase – 2.6 for 26

  1. Martina Reply

    Thanks, Stuart – and you are absolutely right. Going out with you was an eye-opener – and I pride myself to be relatively “switched on”. I was quite embarrassed how poor my reactions were, for instance getting out of your way when there was a lowered kerb – you always had to tell me where it was good for you to cross a road etc! It was really quite the experience for me. On the upside it was nice to see so many friendly smiles and also how helpful all the drivers were, letting us pass and not complaining that they had to slow down. I can very vividly imagine that this may be very different on occasion – everything is so much easier on a bright, sunny, beautiful day when everyone is in a sunny mood! I now completely understand why you are offering your wheelchair skills training – having witnessed you in action was most humbling and very impressive. The speed with which you move, up and down kerbs, balancing on two wheels to overcome obstacles, maneuvering around other obstacles in your path and the speed of your reactions – I can see you’re a great teacher and I can see how it will help people gain confidence and skill, thus ultimately granting them more freedom and independence. Your family must be very proud of you and what you have achieved. Tell your son from me that I think his Daddy is a true hero :).

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