Introducing Wheelsie

I’d just finished the 12k HBF Run for a Reason and was milling about in the finishers area in Gloucester Park. One of the co-EDs from Bibra Lake parkrun came up to introduce herself, and while we were chatting, this bloke (see picture) wheeled himself up to be part of the chat. I actually assumed he had something to do with Bibra Lake parkrun too!

When I asked his name he said “Wheelsie”, a name that I instantly recognised as a HAA page liker. This is the point where Wheelsie explained that he had turned his life around, had set a big goal, had hit a bit of a flat spot, was maybe in need of the help of a mentor, and that he thought what I had done was inspiring. He then showed me a long email message that he had been compiling to send me, and how he had got my details from some of my running friends, while I was still on the road…

It’s hard to adequately describe that moment really, and I was already “suffering” the drained emotions that seem to follow a long run… suffice to say I fought hard to stop my eyeballs leaking, and gave the guy a hug.

So what did this incredible soul have to say?

He broke his back – I think it was 12 years ago
First couple of years after he just wanted to lay down and die
After that he self-medicated with drugs (I presume recreational) to escape from life and fill the void.

He had a lightbulb moment, he decided to quite the drugs, embrace a positive mental attitude, quit smoking… to get fit and healthy and do something with his life.

I’m not sure how much training or for how long he has been entering events – but on Sunday his finishers medal was the half marathon one.

But it’s what he wants to do that is amazing – he wants to push himself from Perth to Melbourne. He wants to do this for Hearts Across Australia / Heart Foundation as his charity focus, and also some specific fundraising he wants to do for personal reasons to help a family….

I feel so so sooooo incredibly honoured and humbled and blown away that this man would seek me out, and entrust a dream of this magnitude to me. I hope that I do that trust justice, and I also hope that my own experiences, and those of other crazy people I have met by doing this, will help inform Wheelie’s own trans-Australian adventure.


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