Being at Parallel London made me realise that it’s people’s attitudes that are the real disability – Livability

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Being at Parallel London made me realise that it’s people’s attitudes that are the real disability

Sian Awford was one of the participants in Parallel London, and completed the 5k route with her family. She told us why she took part in the first push/run event.

I first heard about Parallel London from my daughter Ellie.

She was very keen for my husband, Rob, and me to run 5km with her at Parallel and we find it very difficult to say no to her! Rob has been out running with me several times – although he usually runs backwards as I am so slow! He makes me laugh with his unique approach to warming up before running.

This is the first time I have ever run in a big event.

I had severe asthma as a child and young adult and found running impossible even though I was able to swim long distances. But recently my daughter encouraged me to download the “Couch to 5km” phone app and join my local running group to see if I could take it up. It seems I can run a mile without stopping – a huge achievement for me at 57!

Being at Parallel made me realise that it’s people’s attitudes that are the real disability

Being at Parallel London made me realise that it’s people’s attitudes that are the real disability

I was really thrilled to take part.

On the day, I had a painful knee, but I had had reassurance from my physiotherapist that I could take part, as long as I alternated running with walking. Along the route, my daughter took lots of photos as we ran and her boyfriend kept me going too. They were determined we would all cross the line together, which we did.

I used to be happier watching sport than taking part.

My husband has been trying to get me into involve me in sport for years. It’s great to be able to take part in Parallel with him.

I heard about Parallel through my work.

I’m a Speech and Language Therapist at Livability’s school for disabled young people – Victoria Education Centre. I have worked at Victoria for 11 years now, which is a record for me as I used to change jobs in the NHS every two years or so. The students I work with have a range of medical conditions and physical difficulties and very varied speech, language and communication needs. Although there are sad days when students with life limiting conditions leave us, colleagues and students soon get you smiling again.

My daughter Ellie and her boyfriend took part in Parallel with me.

I really enjoyed running as a family. My daughter decided to take part when she heard that Livability was sponsoring Parallel. She was the one who first encouraged me to take up running so she is delighted that I took part.

My daughter Ellie and her boyfriend took part in Parallel with me

My daughter Ellie and her boyfirend took part in Parallel with me

I was really motivated to finish the course by all the other runners/wheelchair competitors.

There was a former Victoria student looking fantastic in purple feathers and mermaid leggings. I also spotted a young man who has motor-neurone disease wearing a “Tough Mudder” headband. Both of these young people made me think there was no way I was not going to finish the 5km course.

I would love to see more sporting opportunities for all ages and abilities.

Being at Parallel made me realise that it’s people’s attitudes that are the real disability. Events like Parallel and charities like Livability are helping to change that.

Livability were proud to be Platinum sponsors of Parallel London, the first ever push/run event held in the Queen Elizabeth Park in September 2016. Read more about this event and see our photos here.

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