Hey guys, I’m Jay (or James when got me formal head on) I’m 35 year old from Hertfordshire.

So first thing to know about me is I’m a full time wheelchair user. I’m not gonna talk too much about why I’m in wheelchair because if I’m  honest it’s an old story that I’m tired of telling but let’s just say I have numerous health issues most of which people can’t see with the naked eye.

Runner Feature - James Cordwell RunThrough Running Club LondonI guess best place to start is a couple years ago, at which point my life was very different I weighed around 24-25st, I had been ill and started loosing some weight when at a routine doctors appointment I was given some brutal and blunt truth about my life expectancy at that weight. Needless to say it wasn’t great.

I first started on a very low calorie diet under doctor supervision which if any of you know about weight loss is not an ideal way to lose weight, I had gym membership and fitness equipment at home but had no clue what I was doing with it, after all I can’t just jump on a treadmill like the average person.

I started working with a young personal trainer (www.laurencevaughan.co.uk) who had his own business and I had seen in passing previously, we got on well pushing consistently finding ways round my issues (I can’t do a plank because of my legs so we put legs on bench and do decline plank allowing the bench to do the leg part of the work for me). Around the same time we started making progress I was also looking for a trike for my son (who was around 11 at the time) as he has his own challenges and requires the stability a trike can offer, we approached a local disability sports group (www.hertsdisabilitysportsfoundation.com) who had kindly agreed to short term loan my son a trike whilst we sourced one of his own, I must say these guys do a great job bringing adaptive sports to people who may otherwise not enjoy them!!

On meeting with the sports foundation team I was asked if I had ever considered wheelchair racing, I answered honestly that nope hadn’t even crossed my mind, but it stuck in my head as I headed home. I soon text saying I would like to give it a try and so in may 2018 we headed over to Riddling in Stevenage and I sat in a race chair for the first time. Completely out my comfort zone and bewildered by how easy the members there made it look I started to go round the track. As time went on me and my personal trainer, who by this point had become not only a personal trainer but a very good friend, decided wheelchair racing would be great way to get a different sort of workout and it wasn’t long until I entered my first track events In the June 2018.

Flash forward to November and my training partner and good friend Jack Gower, (remember that name guys he’s destined for greatness) was entering an event called Winter Wonderwheels it’s a disabled focused event at Dorney lake put on by Superheroseries and his mum had asked if I would be interested, so I agreed. It would be fair to say I was very anxious although tried not to let on but can honestly say by the end of the 10k I was hooked!

So that’s where it began and since then I have done a 15km, a handful of half marathon races including winning the Run Dorney race in August, and my fair share of 10k events, seven of which were done on punctures and with a broken chair, and have lots more planned.

I’m still trying to lose weight and get myself a better body shape, so will continue to work with my trainer and good friend as I firmly believe once you reach one goal you should set another. Without family and friends supporting me and helping with transport none of this would be possible. I have also recently finished an online diet nutrition course as well as my personal trainer/fitness instructor course.

Many people have remarked previously to me that I’m amazing or I’m inspirational or that I’m incredible or a legend etc, and let’s be clear here I never set out to be any of those things and do not see myself as any of them. I’m just a bloke in a wheelchair, but if any of this helps motivate or encourage or even offer hope to someone else or even bring more attention to disability sports it’s been worth it. If anyone would like to follow my continuing adventures I have a Facebook page set up @jay.cordwell.18 and an Instagram profile to @jay_cordwell35.

Runner Feature - James Cordwell RunThrough Running Club London

Before I go though I want to take this chance to thank and seriously praise RunThrough.co.uk they are so genuinely interested in trying to be inclusive their teams are always so eager and willing to help at events to make sure wheelchair users can enjoy it as much as everyone else. They truly appreciate the feedback (even as simple as being asked to make sure easy disabled access to loos) and this level of support, understanding and inclusion is reflected by all of you that take part in the events it has to be said RunThrough has some the most supportive crowds and runners with everyone encouraging each other as they go round the course.

I can only hope in time other promotions follow RunThrough’ example and seek to be much more inclusive not only allowing wheelchair entry’s but in making sure they get the same great experience as everyone else. In mean time guys feel free to follow me on Facebook, keep going to RunThrough events, check out local disability sports see if they need support at all.

To everyone everywhere I say remember these closing thoughts: