Following a car accident in 2014, Grace McGowan became paralysed from the chest down. But earlier this month, with the use of a ReWalk exoskeleton suit, she managed to complete a 1km course in record time at the 2017 Parallel London event.

Completing the challenge in 40 minutes and six seconds, McGowan broke the UK record for her category. Parallel London is an event designed for all people of all ages and abilities. The event website states that ‘there is no cut off times and everybody can run together, side by side. Everybody will be given time to finish the race.’

McGowan, from Weymouth, completed Parallel London to raise money for her wheelchair rugby team, the Dorset Destroyers. Of the £500 target to help Destroyers pay for chair maintenance for the forthcoming season, Grace was able to raise nearly double that amount, with a fundraising total of £907.

Grace told the Dorset Echo; ““It was definitely a challenge but I did better than I thought I would do. I completed it in a record-breaking time and I didn’t have to sit down like I thought. The atmosphere was so good that you just power through and you just want to get it done, I’m quite a determined person.”

Since her injury just three years ago, wheelchair rugby has played a massive part in Grace’s life. She said: “Before my injury I was very lazy. When I was in the spinal unit I saw demonstrations of wheelchair sports. It is a good challenge and it is healthy competition. The team have such a drive to keep going and I want to go as far as I can go.”

If you would like to start playing wheelchair rugby then please check the Get Involved section of our website to find out about your nearest club and how you could be part of this exciting Paralympic sport.

Photo Credit: Angelika Glapiak