Wheel determination driving athlete

Published 10:00am 2 July 2022

Wheel determination driving athlete
Words by Jodie Powell

A Burpengary East athlete will join more than 150 others from 17 countries at the Frame Running International Camp and Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association International Cup in Denmark next week.

Martin Wilson will be one of six athletes in the Australian RaceRunning team at the event.

He’s relishing the chance to be on the track in a race-runner, which allows athletes with mobility issues to run, supported by a specially designed frame.

Martin suffered a stroke in July 2019, and says while cycling using a recumbent bike is great exercise, it’s not the same feeling of running that the frame-runner delivers.

It’s a feeling he’s missed since his stroke left him with an acquired brain injury.

Long road ahead

Wheel determination driving athlete

Martin Wilson's travelling to Denmark with wife Cindy and daughter Ebony to compete at the Frame Running International Camp.

“The night I had the stroke, I’d just run 11km on the treadmill at work,” Martin recalls.

Arriving at Burpengary station after finishing work with Brisbane Transport and after his run, Martin remembers stumbling on the steps as he walked to his car.

He also noticed a lack of feeling in one arm but brushed it aside and made it home ok.

When his wife, Cindy, arrived home she immediately noticed something was wrong – Martin seemed disoriented and lacked movement on one side.

“His face was droopy and he had scratches because he’d fallen on the stairs (at the train station),” Cindy says.

They later found he’d suffered a carotid artery dissection, creating a rough surface that caused a clot, which subsequently dislodged, causing his main injuries.

Three months of rehabilitation at Redcliffe Hospital followed, with the family adjusting to their new life and Cindy looking for ways to help Martin find new activities.

“A lot of disability stuff caters for people with intellectual impairments but it’s quite hard to find things where you can only use one arm and one leg,” she says.

Big motivation

Wheel determination driving athlete

She stumbled across RaceRunning (known as frame-running in Europe), which is quite new to Australia and convinced Martin to give it a try with a club at the University of Queensland.

“He has only been using a frame-runner for about a year,” Cindy says.

“Malcolm lost all movement in his left side and suffered a significant acquired brain injury.

“Recovery has been slow and frustrating and he is using (the trip to Denmark) to motivate himself to get out and train.”

Martin says while races in Australia are generally 100m, 200m or 400m, at the Frame Running International Camp he’ll be competing in a 1500m event as well.

“It will be interesting pacing for the 1500m because it’s nearly four laps of the oval,” he laughs.

Having competed in a couple of meets in Canberra Malcolm’s determined to watch his wheels in Denmark.

“The first time we went to Canberra the whole heat was disqualified for not having their wheels in the lines,” he says.

The Wilsons left Australia for Denmark yesterday - three years to the day since Malcolm’s stroke.

While they’re there they’ll celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and daughter Ebony’s birthday.

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