Determined group with physical disabilities complete Stevenage marathon thanks to specialist equipment

Jane Chapman, who has had surgery on her spine, took part in the marathon challenge.

Jane Chapman, who has had surgery on her spine, took part in the marathon challenge. - Credit: Archant

People with debilitating conditions such as fibromyalgia and muscular degeneration have completed a marathon to raise money to pay for specialist equipment which has quite simply changed their lives.

Trevor Read, who is recovering from a stroke, did his bit for the marathon challenge.

Trevor Read, who is recovering from a stroke, did his bit for the marathon challenge. - Credit: Archant

To coincide with the London Marathon, Lifestyles gym at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on Lytton Way hosted its own marathon event.

People with various health problems – including stroke, fibromyalgia, spinal operations and muscular degeneration – took part in a sponsored marathon and between them completed 26.2 miles on an anti-gravity treadmill.

The state-of-the-art equipment works by a person standing on the treadmill in an air-filled pod at waist height, which then supports them as they run, allowing people with severe physical disabilities to exercise.

A specialist bike which sends an electrical impulse to the nerves to make the muscles contract has also been bought by the gym.

Corporate health and wellbeing manager Juanita Prescott said: “Some of the people who took part are unable to walk because of pain or their need for a wheelchair, frame or stick, but due to the support of the air–filled treadmill they were able to be part of the marathon.

“The treadmill allows even those with debilitating conditions the chance to be active.”

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Trevor Read, who is in rehabilitation following a stroke, said: “I’m just so happy to be able to take part in an event just like everyone else can.

“Since using the treadmill my condition has improved and I feel so much stronger.”

Jane Chapman, who has recently had surgery on her spine, added: “I was able to walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill, which I can’t normally do because of the pain in my back. When I’m on there, I have no pain at all. It was great to be part of the day and help raise funds.”

Juanita said: “With the two pieces of kit we are confident we can get a lot of people active who can’t actually exercise at the moment.”

To find out more, call Chris Tillbrook on 01438 242601 or email enquiries.healthyhub@sll.co.uk.

The equipment cost £42,000 and funds are currently being raised to pay for it. Email juanita.prescott@sll.co.uk if you can help.

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