Scotland's '˜bionic mum' battles agony to finish triathlon
A brave Scotswoman who lost both her hands and feet after suffering a near-fatal illness has defied agony to cross the finish line at the world's largest triathlon event.
Known as Scotland’s “bionic mum”, 47-year-old Corinne Hutton completed the super-sprint distance challenge at the London Triathlon, which involves a 400m swim, 10km on a bike and a 2.5km run.
The quadruple amputee, from Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, got round the course in under two hours, despite having two thirds of one of her lungs removed just a few months ago.
She wears prosthetic legs in order to run and pedal, but has to battle painful sores caused by intensive exercise.
In the run-up to the event over-zealous cycle training landed her in a wheelchair for four days to recover.
The latest operation has also made breathing extra difficult, particularly when swimming.
The overwhelming feeling on crossing the finish line was “relief”, she said.
“I was in a lot of pain. It was much harder than I thought it would be. The swim was really tough, not just one arm in front of the other but trying to breathe and panicking.”
Doctors were forced to amputate both Hutton’s hands and her legs below the knee in 2013 as a result of serious septicaemia that set in after she contracted acute pneumonia.
In March she underwent further surgery to cut out part of a lung that was badly scarred as a result of the illness.
Speaking after the event, the hardy Scot said she had “jumped at the chance to compete” and was determined not to let her health problems stand in the way.
“I’ve had a few setbacks during my training, going through an operation where I lost two thirds of my lung, so it has been hard,” she said.
“The more training I do, the more sores I get. So it’s about trying to get the balance right.
“It was my first triathlon and the nerves did set in but I absolutely loved the challenge.”
Organisers have commended Hutton’s achievement and hailed her a role model.
Marc Webster, of international sports and events firm IMG, said: “What Corinne has achieved is truly inspiring to witness. Corinne’s triathlon demonstrates that anything is possible with hard work and determination.”
Hutton took on the triathlon to raise money for the amputee support charity she founded, Finding Your Feet. But the mother of one, who ran her own business before being struck by septicaemia, is no stranger to feats of courage and strength.
The fitness fanatic has previously set three world records, including becoming the first female quadruple amputee to conquer Ben Nevis.
She has also learned to fly a plane and abseiled off a multi-storey building.
She bared all as the poster girl for the NHS organ donation campaign, posing naked except for a suit of body paint.
She added: I firmly believe we have two choices in life and I choose the positive option. I feel great doing things that people didn’t think I could do and it’s a nicer reaction than one of pity or sympathy.
“I also think it’s a valuable life lesson for my son Rory, who is eight now, to see me push the boundaries.
“He’s the inspiration for me even getting out of bed. I want him to learn perseverance and determination.”
She hopes to become Scotland’s first double hand transplant patient but is waiting for the go-ahead from doctors.