We are pleased to say that Kiera Roche, Chair of LimbPower has agreed to run the London Marathon in 2013 on behalf of the Limbless Association and has set a fundraising target of £5000! She freely admits that she has no experience of running marathons and has not run since becoming an amputee. However, she has been an active cyclist and last year completed the London to Paris ride that helped raise funds for both LimbPower and the Limbless Association. If she is not able to run, she has pledged to walk the marathon so that her target will be met.
Kiera has set up a blog to keep a journal of her journey from novice to marathon runner which can be found here. We will be featuring regular updates throughout the year both here on in Step Forward so that members can follow her journey towards the marathon. The first part of her blog is reproduced below and we wish Kiera all the best over the coming year in her ambition to run the marathon.
“As a teenager sport was my life, I was House Captain of Sport at secondary school. I studied Sports Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Art at ‘A’ Level, as I wanted to study Sports Science at Loughborough and follow in the footsteps of Sebastian Coe. During a 400-meter hurdle training session at Ealing and Southall Running Club when I was teenager I damaged my lower back and after a short stay in hospital I was told to give up running. While I gave up competitive athletics I continued to participate in sport focusing on team sports including Volleyball, Netball, Basketball and Ultimate Frisbee. I became captain of my University Basketball team, but struggled to find a club when I moved back to London. After my injury I changed direction and studied Social Psychology at University, leaving with a BA Honours Degree.
One of the skills I developed early on through being involved in sport was good organisation and I found myself pursuing a career, which involved organising national and International trade and consumer exhibitions. Whilst directing an exhibition in Paris in June 2001 I was involved in a catastrophic road traffic accident, which involved an 11-hour operation and the amputation of my right leg through the knee. Two operations later and I found myself as an above knee amputee, with serious damage to my right shoulder including six breaks. While undergoing rehabilitation at Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton I was invited to become a Trustee of the Limbless Association and I have never looked back.
Whilst in hospital I decided that I would run the marathon. I first tried running a year into becoming an amputee and it was so difficult and painful that I felt very disappointed. My partner suggested that I try cycling to build up my stamina and endurance to try running again. I did this and found cycling so much easier than running that I ended up pursuing this. I put the thought of running out of my mind and focused on what I could do. In November 2009 I started the charity LimbPower (www.limbpower.com), with my friends Cathy Booth and David Hilton. From organising sporting events for new amputees I learnt that I wasn’t ready when I first tried to run. My injuries had not consolidated and my stump had not settled.
I have no idea at this stage whether I will be able to run the marathon, but I am going to learn to run and I am going to try and run the marathon. At worst case scenario, I will walk the marathon but I will complete a marathon. I am very lucky that the Limbless Association (www.limbless-association.org), a charity that I have worked for and raised funds for, has agreed to give me its London Marathon place for 2013.”
Kiera has also set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds towards her £5000 target. You can visit her Just Giving page here.