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“You can do anything you set your mind” : Gus McKechnie out to prove cerebral palsy won’t stop him now

Gus talks about how he trains with cerebral palsy and his motivations for pushing his limits

It’s common knowledge that we runners are a breed of our own. Not many people share an enjoyment of agonising pain, shortness of breath and ‘shorts’ the size of your boxers. It’s an acquired taste. Others look at running as a test. A chance to prove to themselves that they can achieve: and even that is a lot hard for some.

Gus McKechnie wants to prove that you can do anything you set your mind to by completing the ABP Southampton Marathon using hiking sticks. Gus will be running with cerebral palsy. For him this mean he has less function on the left-hand side of his body. Gus is just one of the thousands of expected runners to be taking part in this year’s 2018, ABP Southampton marathon.

Running with cerebral palsy, Gus has his eyes on the prize.
Gus ready to take on cold training conditions.

He proves age is no barrier. At 42-year-old he wants to show others the benefits of a positive mental attitude by completing the challenge. Because of his condition, Gus will be using hiking sticks to help himself around. He’s hopeful to complete the full marathon in five and a half hours – 30 minutes under the official cut-off time for participants.

“It can be easy to listen to the negative part of your brain that makes you think ‘I couldn’t possibly do that’ or ‘I’m not strong enough’. I want to show people that they can achieve so much more than they give themselves credit for.

Gus is no stranger to a challenge. In fact, he craves adventure. Just look at his JustGiving page. To pluck a few off his resume he’s completed 10 years of cycling on Red Funnel covering over 100’000 miles.  He became the first adaptive rower to single scull around Hayling Island. Last year he took part in the half marathon distance in a specially adapted sports wheelchair. Donations to Gus’ endeavours all go raise funds for Weldmar Hospice in Dorset.

He’s been careful to incorporate his training into his everyday life, racking up around 5k every day. Gus works at Ordnance Survey and is one of their GetOutside champions. He said: “I’ll be relying on my upper body to keep me balanced when I start getting tired so it’s important for me to work on that as well as the walking.”

Nikki Rees from the ABP Southampton Marathon says Gus will not be in short supply of friendly faces cheering him on on the day.

“The entire race team are huge fans of Gus’ challenges and we can’t wait to see him on April 22. He optimises the spirit of the ABP Southampton Marathon – showing that sport is for everyone.”
Nikki Rees from the ABP Southampton Marathon

The ABP Southampton Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 22. It features a 10k, half marathon and children’s mile fun run as well as a full marathon. All races start and finish in the heart of Southampton’s city centre. The course takes in iconic local landmarks including the Bargate, Itchen Bridge, Riverside Park and the Common before reaching a stunning finish by the Guildhall in the city centre.

Places for this years Southampton ABP Marathon are now closed If you’re not sure about a marathon quite yet, check out our events page to browse what’s happening. Or look at our training tab for some top tips.

Joe Tucker
the authorJoe Tucker
Joe is an aspiring fitness journalist looking to get his foot in the industry at jogger.co.uk. A fair-weather runner and sparring sissy who occasionally enjoys rolling down hills ... on two wheels that is. Any story ideas? Feel free to DM him with any ideas.

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