It was an absolute pleasure to meet Joe Pugh and his Aunt Adele last weekend for X-Runner, Wild Warrior. For those that don’t know Joe, he was one of the group of people on the Smiler roller coaster that tragically crashed in 2015. Joe’s knee caps were totally smashed, and have since been entirely rebuilt. Joe has been in and out of surgery and undergoing weekly physio and training to build his strength back. You can read his story in our previous article about his obstacle course rehab.
Right from the word go, it was clear that Joe was well up for this challenge and committed to raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. He knew his injuries would prevent him from crawling or running long distance, so X-Runner was perfect for him. At X-Runner's inclusive races, there are zero penalties or shaming for walking round obstacles you don’t feel comfortable with, and a 5km distance option.
Joe and Adele had never done an obstacle course before and were both nervous and excited as we set off from the starting pen. Nerves disappeared VERY early and they threw themselves into the spirit of things by getting muddy and laughing all the way round. Joe’s worries about messing up his beautiful hair soon faded after the first water slide into muddy water, and he resigned himself to looking like the rest of us when we crossed the line - like swamp things.
On a personal note, running with a couple of obstacle course virgins was AMAZING! It is easy to forget the fun aspect when you are thinking about how one event compares to another, and all sorts of other technicalities. But this was so refreshing, so pure, and really reminded me of why I love this sport! You never know where you are going to find inspiration, and I never expected it would come from a young man who went through such a traumatic accident! Thank you Joe, and good luck with everything in your future!