My name is Glynn and I’ve lived in my current flat in Darlington, enabled by ubu for the past four years. Since I moved here I’ve made friends with lots of people in my town, and everyone knows me. My house is a beautiful old building which made into fantastic flats about four years ago. When I moved here, I chose my flat and it’s on the top floor. It seems a long way up which is great, I like that, but there are lots of stairs to climb!
Recently I started to notice that sometimes I was finding it a bit tough to get up all those stairs without getting puffed! I talked to the ubu enabling team about it, and actually they noticed it too. I realised that I didn’t feel as fit any more within myself as I used to. I felt like I had put on a lot of weight. It wasn’t how I wanted to be and it was making me feel heavy in lots of ways.
I talked about how I was feeling with one of the ubu Enablers who gives me support when I need it at home. She said she’d like to get healthier too, and asked “How about we go to the gym, learn how to use the equipment properly and work on improving our fitness together?” which I thought was a great idea.
So we decided to go down to the local gym and find out about the different memberships they offered. They suggested that a good first step would be to get me booked in for an induction with one of the gym instructors. They ask everyone who joins a gym to do this, which is sensible I think because we could be shown how to use the equipment properly, without hurting ourselves and how to get the best out of it.
On the way out of the gym, I spotted a leaflet on the information board. It was for a run in the local park near where I live. I’m always up for a challenge and It looked like real good fun and there were pictures of everyone was getting covered lots of coloured paint. So I turned to Steph, the ubu Enabler who had come with me to the gym and asked her what she though the event was all about. She read the leaflet and explained the details…the event was a 5 kilometre run in the South Park, near me to raise awareness about Autism which is something I know a bit about.
I’m pretty sure that my eyes lit up! I knew that I wanted to get covered in multi-coloured paint, that was easy, and it looked really exciting!
I laughed out loud and said to Steph “Imagine if we could get fit enough to be able to run the race!” Well that turned out to be the start of something brilliant. Steph said “There’s no reason why we couldn’t run the race!” Which was easy to say but we knew right there it was going to be a challenge but we said to each other “Let’s go for it!” It was going to really give us something to focus on.
We decided there and then to get booked onto the race event. No time like the present. There was a fee of £20 to run the race which included me getting a t-shirt. Steph explained that with it being an event I would have to pay for we would really have to commit to training at the gym. And she was right!
So we went for it! The run was to be on the 1st July, so we only had 3 months to train and get fit. I went to the gym every week with Steph, we lifted some light weights and ran on the treadmill to try and build our stamina up.
Actually at first it was really tiring but I started to notice that the more I went to the gym, the better I felt and could go longer periods of time without feeling as tired.
My t-shirt arrived in the post. I was pretty excited! The run event was getting closer and I felt great in myself, just from exercising at the gym, practicing together, getting the right shorts and trainers…we were ‘race ready’ as they say.
Then, Ryan who lives independently enabled by ubu in another service nearby also booked onto the event. It was great knowing there was going to be a ‘team’ of us running. I couldn’t wait! Every day I spoke about the race as it got closer and closer.
And then before we knew it, Race Day arrived! I was up early, so pumped for the day ahead! I got myself ready and had some breakfast to fuel myself just like the gym instructors had suggested! I met Steph so we could walk down to the park and meet Ryan. When I saw Steph I have never laughed so much. She was dressed ready for the race…as Peppa Pig!!!
There were loads of people in the park. It was a fantastic turn out for what is a really good cause, raising awareness about living with Autism, that a lot of people don’t really understand. All the money raised by the entry fees went to the North East Autism charity that works hard to help people be aware of autism and what it actually is.
We waited at the starting line for the sound of the gun. BANG! and we were off! At first we walked at a fast pace so we didn’t get too tired. The atmosphere was great, everyone was happy and laughing, there was music, balloons and the sun was shining. It was a wonderful feeling.
As we were coming to the end of the race I could see ahead a really big foam pit that you had to go through before reaching the finish line. It was so funny because when we got there, the foam went everywhere! We got so wet. Then after coming out of the foam there were people at each side of final stretch of the run with a rainbow of coloured powder paint. We were completely covered in bright coloured powder paint! It took me 3 days to get the paint out of my hair! It was well worth it though.
I literally can’t wait to run it again next year because the ubu Service Manager where I live independently in my own flat, who’s called Chris, says he wants to run the race with me! It’ll be my turn to support him, he probably needs it too! I’m feeling fantastic, on the top of the world, well actually on the top floor. Now I’m not puffing when I get up the stairs, I’m actually feeling great!