Tags: Active Ambassador
Posted: Fri, 24 Sep 2021 15:18
Now that the dust has settled on the incredible achievements of the Olympics and Paralympics, we're delighted to hear from one of our incredible Active Ambassadors Phoebe Gibbons on the joy that Paralympics bring but also the realities that highlight what still needs to be done around disability sport:
The Paralympics bring mixed thoughts for me. On the one hand I am in awe of these athletes, going to the represent their country because they are amongst the best at what they do. People like Ellie Symmonds have always been a great source of inspiration for me, but not because they are disabled but just because they are achieving what they want to in life and are pushing themselves.
On the other hand, it makes me question why there is such little provision for disabled sports, particularly in certain areas. It is clear that there are disabled people out there with skill and talent, but we are missing some of these people due to the lack of opportunity. I also think that sometimes, because we do not see enough disabled sport at grassroots or even at a professional level, disabled people think that the choice is either be good enough to be at the Paralympics or not be good enough at all. We need to use the games as a platform to continue to grow the opportunities that have been created out of the 2012 games, but to also evaluate in what areas there is a lack of opportunity and how this can be addressed.
Sport and physical activity, at whatever level, should be first and foremost fun and then the benefits that follow are proven to be positive on so many levels. The Paralympics means a great deal to me, it highlights how far we've come but also highlights how far we have to go.
You can find out more about our Active Ambassadors here
Posted: Thu, 05 Aug 2021 16:30
Active Oxfordshire's Healthy for Life pillar is set out to get Oxfordshire's residents living longer, better by moving more.
The blog below outlines 60 year-old Active Ambassador Fiona's 60 miles in July Challenge and the journey she took back to full health.
What was the challenge to get fit?
After a caring responsibility ended after 10 years with the sad loss of my mother in her nineties, I was exhausted and had not paid attention to my own health. A year ago, the last year in my fifties, I decided to visit the doctor, optician, and audiologist to get back to a sense of wellbeing and start some sport again.
I wasn't sleeping at all well, so the doctor prescribed some HRT which has transformed my sleeping pattern. New glasses improved my ability to sit in front of a screen again and lastly a hearing test showed I have loss of 30% hearing in both ears following a head injury accident 5 years ago.
Physical activity background
I used to be a competent competition rider both eventing and show jumping and after having my daughter 17 years ago I gave up riding and took to running to keep fit. This was a timely way to stay on top of fitness. 10 years ago, exercise started to take a back seat, as I took on more of a caring role, alongside working, my fitness didn't get priority! A serious head injury 5 years ago resulted in me stopping any exercise for 18 months.
Starting again from scratch was hard and I owe a debt of gratitude to Abingdon Athletics who encouraged me back to running on their couch to 5K course they ran alongside the Abingdon Parkrun.
How the journey is going – work in progress!
Fast forward to this year, I worked hard on fitness, carrying on running 3 times a week through lockdown. I joined Abingdon Athletics and started running regularly with the club run on a Tuesday evening. And I have achieved more than I thought I could.
As my special birthday month loomed, I decided to set myself a challenge and do a run for 2 miles every day throughout the month, with a total of 60 miles in July. I have stayed accountable on social media through July and am both amazed and delighted in attracting sponsorship for the Oxford Samaritans to the tune of £900 to date. It has taken grit, determination and focus to run daily, especially on those early July hot days, the only time I could run was 6.30am! I have received so much encouragement from my family, friends, new running friends and support from Active Oxfordshire and I would like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.
Physical activity is for all ages – Age is just a number!
I did my first Parkrun last weekend and one week after turning 60 I got a PB (personal best) time, I was chuffed and so I would encourage anyone to have a go at challenging yourself with a fitness target and go for it. You may not reach the moon but in trying you may just reach the stars! Visit my Just Giving page, for the full story: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fiona-perkins5