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Going off-road. Going solo.
When UK-based para-athlete and Magic Mobility user Jonathan Brough heard that lockdown was going to put a stop to his planned races this year, he could have been downhearted.
Instead, with his usual determination, Jonathan decided he’d still race – even if he had to do the challenges on his own
Since May 2020, Jonathan has completed 580km of challenges, raising thousands of pounds for charity, all on his own in his wheelchair.
Jonathan, 32, is paralysed from the neck down and permanently attached to a breathing machine since contracting meningitis at the age of 18. But being a driven and athletic person, this disability hasn’t prevented him from doing what he loves – racing.
As part of his own challenges he covered the distance he’d been originally planning on completing in the races by doing his own designed on- and off-road routes around his home in Minchinhampton. Jonathan ended up covering an average of 6.2 km a day in his Frontier V6 All Terrain.
“Being able to race has been a lifeline for me,” Jonathan says. “At one point at the beginning of lockdown, I wasn’t even able to see my parents properly. They had to wave at me through the window.
“Knowing I had to cover a certain distance each week gave me a reason to go out, which has been really good for my mental and physical health.”
Jonathan began his challenges in May with the Great Run – a series of running events around the UK – which this year became the Great Run Solo. Instead of participants running together, this specially designed lockdown challenge allowed entrants to participate by themselves, with all money raised going to much-needed charities.
When that ended in June, Jonathan moved on to the Great Run North Solo, finishing on September 13. He hit his 482km target in four months, in spite of a period of illness that kept him bedbound during part of the challenge.
Raising the money was his way of saying ‘thank you’ to the NHS, which helped him rehabilitate following his paralysis back in 2007, and which provides on-going care when he needs it.
“The NHS has been really important to me, and it’s such a relevant time to remember how much they do for us,” Jonathan says.
He also wants to use this opportunity to thank the amazing donors who helped him purchase the all-terrain wheelchair he uses.
Ask him what’s next, and he’s still thinking. He did have his sights on Stroud Half Marathon – sadly cancelled for 2020 – which he last completed on foot in October 2006, aged 18, in an incredibly competitive one hour 33 minutes.
“I’m definitely looking for my next challenge,” he says. “I’m always raring to go.”
Be like Jonathan!
Head control units are specially configured to drive a power wheelchair using a joystick mounted behind the wheelchair user’s head.
The user has a specific headrest that converts their head movement into the required direction for the powerchair.
For example, when the headrest is pushed left, the wheelchair will move in that direction. Similarly to the conventional joystick, the harder the headrest is pushed, the faster the wheelchair will go.
In this instance, a simple switch is used to select the backward motion into either forward or reverse motion of the wheelchair.
Looking to learn more about our power wheelchairs? Contact us today!