Loch Ness Wheelchairathon

Originally published on The Scottish Field, on 22 October 2012. Link.

Authors: Sam & Gavin Khan-McIntyre
It’s not very often that you see a wheelchair getting pushed for 26 miles at high speed, but that is exactly the challenge Katherine Herriot Maitland and Poppy Baggot successfully undertook last month.

Kat, from Perthshire, was pushed in the Loch Ness marathon in her specially-designed wheelchair, affectionately known as Floss. Poppy and Kat completed the course in only 4hrs, 45 minutes in aid of Edinburgh Charity Headway, which rehabilitates those with head injuries. The race was a remarkable achievement especially because Kat is currently unable to walk, she said ‘Poppy ran like a machine and it is great being pushed at a running pace when you can’t even walk.

‘The race was fun’ she says, even though the other runners sounded like ‘Darth Vader’ through the ear she can still hear with.

Kat, who lives with her husband Jamie and two year- old son Louis in Errol, suffered from a stroke like seizure two years ago, which has affected her balance and therefore left her unable to walk more than a few paces. Her eyesight and hearing were also affected. However, she is determined to live a full life and to contribute to charity. Watching the Paralympics was also a major motivator.

There was some preparation involved for Kat, she was prescribed exercises and training was involved, she says she ultimately ‘trusted Poppy, and her experience’, as she had run three previous marathons. She adds she ‘just turned up in her ski suit and balaclava’ ready to go.

The chair was made from a recycled bicycle and designed by Dr Geoff Bardsley, a clinical scientist. Kat and Poppy were sponsored by Bonhams, Randox, and CKD Galbraith.

A large amount of money was raised for Headway. At the time of writing, cheques are still coming in so the total amount had not yet been calculated.



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