Wirral Life October 2017 - Page 14

WIRRAL DENTISTS’ COMPETE IN OBSTACLE COURSE RACING - AND ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE! Wirral Dentist, Richard Gibson, shares his story about his passion for Obstacle Course Racing and how him and his wife, Rachel, are competing in the World Championships to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy UK. Weekends used to be very different! Prior to 2012, I’d often be up or down the motorway to play hockey and doing our best to catch up with friends spread throughout the country. My eldest was born in 2011 and then his little brother arrived in 2013 – the same year I was diagnosed with an auto- inflammatory condition which knocked me for six. My diagnosis took a bit of working through and recovery rendered me essentially incapable of doing my normal sporting activities. In 2015, the boys were growing and I was feeling a bit more like myself but couldn’t work out how to get back to losing every Saturday to sport at the expense of seeing my wife and kids. It was one day in the summer that my wife, Rachel, came home and said: “We should do a Spartan Race!” “A what?” I replied. She went on to explain that it was new type of competitive obstacle course race. Her friend had competed the previous year in Manchester and the next round was July. “Perfect!” I said – it’s always good to have something to train towards. Rachel started training with her friend and I started getting back to some running and functional training. September came around and with a certain amount of trepidation, we pitched up at 8am on a Saturday morning in Manchester for the race. Now going in, they don’t tell you how far it is or what obstacles you face along the way. Experience now suggests that anything is fair game but you should likely expects walls to climb, nets to scale or crawl under, ropes to swing on, spears to throw and oh did I mention hills! Yes they love hills! 40 minutes later I dragged myself across the line but with a smile on my face. The experience had me hooked and the support and camaraderie on the course was fantastic. To top it off, Rachel turned out to be pretty good and in her first race had placed in 3rd and somehow 14 wirrallife.com had qualified for the Spartan World Championships in Lake Tahoe (California). I was bowled over and very proud. We went to compete in America but come 2017 both set ourselves the goal of qualifying for the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) World Championships. Rachel unsurprisingly qualified first and in our last race of the season, I was ranked high enough to get my invitation! But life at times can be an emotional rollercoaster. The same weekend we found out about the race, we also heard from our friends, Nick & Kirsty, in Scotland that both their little boys Owen, 3, and George, 9 months, had been diagnosed with an aggressive type of muscular dystrophy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a severe form with the main symptoms of muscle weakness beginning around the age of 4 in boys and worsening quickly. Most are unable to walk by the age of 12 and commonly require ventilation to assist the weakened muscles with breathing. NO cure for muscular dystrophy is known and the average life expectancy is 26, however with excellent care can be into the 30s and 40s. This hit us particularly hard with two boys of our own and really put into perspective how insignificant our achievement was. The timing, however, made drawing a connection between the two situations easy. It gave us increased motivation to not only compete but try and do everything we could to raise not only the profile of this disorder but hopefully funds to help support those little boys, their parents and other people with Duchenne. Nick & Kirsty have set up Project Go – a charity geared towards raising awareness and vital funds to support the work of Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. The World Championships were held in Canada’s Blue Mountains. Your support can make a real difference. Please visit our just giving page to donate what you can: https://www.justgiving.com/ fu ndraising/Rachel-Gibson22