It’s More Than Just Movement

Date: 31 August 2022   Author: Energise Me

Repercussions of the pandemic encouraged Gus to take the leap and join a running group. With the support of his new friends, he has since pushed himself and achieved plenty. Now, he's encouraging others to try something new and see what they find.

About Me

My name is Gus and I work for the Maritime and Coastguard agency. I really enjoy exercise and reading, especially if it’s science fiction. I have done a lot of charity challenges including rowing machine records, cycling, and running marathons. Over the years, I have also set up several projects and running events. I have helped over 11,000 young people race in indoor rowing competitions.

I was born with cerebral palsy and have found that remaining active has helped me to stay mobile. It also benefits my mental health. When I exercise with others, that makes it even better! I’m classified as a T38 runner (for runners with cerebral palsy), and I run with the Hamwic Harriers Running Club. I also play wheelchair rugby 5s with the Solent Sharks.

Getting Active

Previously, I’d taken part in runs for charity but training was always hit and miss. Especially during lockdown when I was semi-shielding. I could go outside but I wasn’t allowed around other people. The loneliness I felt during lockdown motivated me to find a club when restrictions were lifted.

In March 2021, I returned to rowing. Being on the river gave me a sense of freedom. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to run. What had previously stopped me was insecurity about my speed – I’m just not fast.

In the Autumn of 2021, I joined Hamwic Harriers. I contacted them via social media and asked them when their next training session was. When I arrived, my fear over my lack of speed was immediately diminished. They were all so friendly and encouraging. Not only did running become possible after work on a regular basis, but I was also making new friends and being introduced to safe running routes that I’d never known before.

My cerebral palsy means it can be tricky to find a rhythm whilst running. It can also make it quite painful unless I hold a certain posture whilst I run.

One of the challenges I faced in 2021 was that I needed an umbilical hernia repair. From that point on in December, I put a recovery plan into action. I had to stay at home for two weeks and then I chose to walk twenty minutes to work each day. This gradually helped me build up strength. And I returned to running in mid-January.

I never could have imagined these things for me, but I owe it all to the constant encouragement from my running club.  


This year has been special in terms of achievements, which I owe to my running friends and the conditioning help from a Solent University student. I had some Parkrun personal bests and managed to get a 10km PB at Eastleigh.

My proudest moment was completing the Southampton Marathon in a personal record. In 2018, it took me eight hours and I finished last. I improved to over six hours in 2019. On both occasions, I needed my walking sticks. This year, I managed to complete it without my walking sticks and finish the ABP Southampton Marathon in under six hours. That put me in the number 5 position on the UK athletics all-time list for T38 marathon.

I have been very lucky to be recognised for my volunteering efforts and contribution to sport in Southampton. Which led me to be included in carrying the Olympic flame and more recently, carrying the Queen’s Baton as part of the Commonwealth Games relay.

I never could have imagined these things for me, but I owe it all to the constant encouragement from my running club.

There is a group of people out there who are ready to welcome and support you like they did me.  

Advice To You

My advice to anyone wanting to start an activity is: don’t worry about your speed or how you look. No one is judging, no matter how much you believe they are. Find not just any running group, but the right running group for you. It might not be the first club you find, it might not even be the second club, but there is a group of people out there who are ready to welcome and support you like they did me.

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