Edinburgh athletics club in Corstorphine first to offer new form of running for physically disabled
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It comes ahead of Friday’s 11th East of Scotland Parasport Festival at Forrester/St Augustine’s sports campus on March 24. Coaches Graeme Reid, Francesca Snitjer and George Key have been delivering tailored training using special three-wheeled equipment to assist athletes – and free sessions are on offer for P5 and P6 students at the Festival.
Finlay Menzies, 17, and Ian Duncan, 12, have enjoyed initial weekly sessions at Royal High School as part of Corstorphine AAC’s joint venture with Active Schools Edinburgh and a second weekly offering is planned at Saughton Sports Complex during the Spring and Summer track season.
Frame running is a form of adaptive running which sees athletes’ bodies supported by the ‘trike’, allowing them to experience the sensation of free movement – often for the first time. It is primarily for people with co-ordination issues associated with cerebral palsy and related impairments.
Corstorphine AAC captain Graeme Reid said: “We advertise that we’re inclusive and we’re demonstrating that commitment. “Now that we have the first few sessions under our belt and a better understanding of how they will work, we hope to gradually expand the numbers. We are exploring various avenues of funding and sponsorship as we’re going to need to purchase at least one frame and a whole load of other equipment.”
Fellow coach Francesca Snitjer added: “Working with athletes with cerebral palsy gives you a much deeper appreciation of how sport can make a huge difference to lives. Finlay and Ian take everything in their stride and are always keen to try new things and push themselves.”
There are currently 13 frame running sessions across Scotland – but Edinburgh athletes previously faced a journey to Meadowmill Sports Centre, Tranent. Ian, who has diplegic cerebral palsy affecting his balance and walking, had been training at the East Lothian site for three years before the Corstorphine AAC sessions launched.
He represented Scotland at the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association International Cup in Denmark last year and hopes to compete in the Paralympics. Finlay, from Balerno, has been using the equipment for six years alongside ambulant athletes, but mum Gill said training with a fellow frame runner gives him a boost.
She said: “He is finding the sessions mentally challenging as well as physically stretching. Sometimes there are fast footwork challenges, reversing, hill climbs and interval-style sessions, rather than just straight running. They have also done a kind of long jump with one-legged pushes.”
Pamela Robson, national disability pathway officer at Scottish Athletics, said: “Corstorphine have shown how a mainstream club can grow and adapt to cater for a specific group of athletes.”
Louise Gillespie, East of Scotland development manager for Scottish Disability Sport, said: “It’s great to see Corstorphine embrace frame running. This can only strengthen the sport and opportunities for young people to participate across Edinburgh.”