We often praise the successes of our races category and overall winners, but today we’ve decided to write about something which is mentioned far less within the racing community as a whole.
Today we talk about our 2021 10 Mile last place finisher and the incredibly inspirational story that made that finish possible.
It is our absolute pleasure to introduce Bill Sharp!
Bill finished our 2021 10 Mile race in 02:14:28 which earned him the final placing of the event.
Pictured: Bill receives London Marathon medal.
In order to explain why this achievement is so special, we need to go back almost exactly 1 year. It’s 21st October 2020 and Bill receives his Virtual London Marathon medal in the post. An achievement that Bill had worked hard for and documented his journey on social media through training to race day.
The very next day Bill suffered a horrific accident which left him severely injured and suffering extensive burn wounds to his legs and right arm. Bill was hospitalised for the remainder of the year and for much of this time, was unable to walk.
Despite his situation, he remained in good spirits and began
documenting his road to recovery straight away. Bill’s ability to make the best
of his incredibly difficult situation was truly inspirational and left many in
awe of his upbeat outlook.
After being discharged at the end of January 2021, Bill took some time to heal and recover whilst introducing himself back into his profession as an IT Technician.
On 17th April, Bill decided to start up the engine and return to his love of running by completing a 1 kilometre effort. He was very happy to be back out there working the pavements and quite rightly so!
With the added confidence of his first run, on the 22nd of April Bill managed 6 Kilometres of alternating running and walking 1km efforts. It didn’t take long before he realised that he needed a goal to work towards. He decided to join the Run, Walk or Cycle 5K in May challenge and vowed to run continuously over the distance. He also pledged to raise money for the Queen Victoria Hospital where he spent time in recovery.
Continuing to build his distance, Bill managed double figures by completing a 10k in August. He then set his sights on entering an event and picked our 10 mile race for October.
Ashford and Districts Chris Boyce had the opportunity to catch up with Bill and here is what they had to say:
Chris: Hello Bill! A very warm welcome from everyone at Ashford & District RRC and thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We are honoured that you picked our event to be such a significant milestone in your recovery. What an inspiring year you had!
So what attracted you to our 10 Mile Race back in October last year?
Bill: Hello, thank you for having me! Having reached 10km I was looking for the next target and 10 miles seemed like it would give me a focus on running and getting back out there and also I was aiming high!
Chris: What was the most challenging thing that you had to contend with whilst building back up to a longer distance.
Bill: The most challenging thing that I had whilst starting to run again was that I had lost all my fitness and sometimes after one run, my legs were physically tired and painful. So, managing this with the mental challenges of ‘I can run, I have done this before’ was frustrating at first but I soon got used to it and took each run as it came.
Chris: Are you fully recovered now or does the accident still affect your running today?
Bill: In terms of the burns to my legs and arm I am fully healed but the skin is still in recovery so I have to look after them and use factor 50 sun cream every day even in winter. Sometimes the legs do get stiff and sore, so I have to balance that with running too.
Chris: You always seem to be working towards something and I love how you always take everyone along for the ride with you by documenting every stage of your journey. What do you have planned next?
Bill: In the short term I am aiming to get 10km under an hour again whilst building up distance as I still have my deferred place in the London Marathon next year from 2020 so that’s the next big thing hopefully, but I’ll be picking up races along the way. After the 10km within 60 minutes, I will look at another target based on my running before I got burnt. The total aim is to get back to the times I was running before the accident.
Chris: The all important question… Will you be returning to this years race? We’d love to have you!
Bill: I am planning on it and hopefully I will beat last year’s time of 2 hours 14 minutes. Under two hours would be good! But improving on last year is the aim.
Chris: Bill, it’s been amazing to share your story and I can’t wait to follow you on your London Marathon journey. Is there anything that you would like to add before we say goodbye.
Bill: If anyone wants to follow me on Instagram to see my progress then I am ‘The Burnt Runner’. Thank you for having me and hopefully I’ll see you on the 30th October!
Chris: Thanks Bill! See you then.