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Returning to the track, 30 years on

Image Description: Tartan red athletics track, photo taken in lane 8 at the start of the 400m position on the track. It is a cloudy day with nobody else on the track.

I walk down the stairs to the running track and I amazed. Amazed, because I realise the extraordinary journey I have experienced. It was way back in 1982 as a very young man I competed in Hong Kong as a 100m athlete and I would have the tremendous honour of representing Australia at the Paralympic Games in America in 1984.

However, today I am a very ordinary older man, just wanting to enjoy the endorphin rush of completing an easy training session on the track with my wonderful Support Worker, Jessica. I returned to the track just over 12 months ago and rediscovered a place that is so important to me.

There was a time not so long ago where I was told by a leading knee surgeon, “you will not run another step!” I believed him for several years and continued to put on weight, progressively felt there was something missing in my life and fortunately realised the track was my space, my way of improving my health and mental wellbeing.

My surgeon may be proven correct, in that knee surgery may be a factor later in life, and yet, I cannot emphasise enough, that I am loving every moment on the track, even when I am complaining that I am exhausted. I meet others who are reaching for their own goals and together we support each other on our way to trying to be healthier in mind and body.

Some days I feel I am talking faster than the speed I am running. I love chatting with each Support person and without fail, I leave the track feeling wonderful, possibly relieved I have completed another session. I have a fabulous physiotherapist who helps to keep me together and assists me to be able to walk onto the track. She is wonderful and keeps me working well enough to come back to the track a few times each week.

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