We’ve all read or watched stories about people that are told they’ll never walk again. Simple Hydration Run Team member Bill Deering was on the receiving end of such devastating news back in 2003. Bill not only started to walk, but eventually was running a few years later. Bill accomplished something pretty impressive in 2016 – 12 Ultra Races in 1 Year. Here’s his story in his own words.
I survived a massive Stroke 13 years ago at the age of 32. My neurologist told me I would probably have difficulty walking again if I ever walked at all. But most definitely I would never be able to run given the severity of my brain injury. Well, I’ve been running since 2011. I never thought I would take up running, as even walking was painful and uncomfortable. I was surprised running felt so natural even though my fitness and weight had blown out to over 130kg/286 pounds.
Why 12 Ultras in 1 year? A question I have been asked a lot this past year. It started as a personal goal to discover the boundaries of my physical and mental limits and to see if I could push beyond. It quickly turned into a quest to hopefully motivate people. That person that says it’s too hard, I could never do that, I’m too slow and I don’t have time. I used to be that person. I was hoping that if people saw me, a Stroke survivor with disabilities, run an ultra marathon every month for a year it could motivate just one person to say “I’m going to do something.”
Picking 12 Ultras to run in 12 months is daunting enough, so I decided to race 1 and then choose the next race as the months went by. Most of the Ultra races I ran last year were short in distance except running over 100km in a 24hr race. I had planned some bigger races but picking up an injury mid year meant the big races would have to wait for 2017. My races were a mix of road and trail runs, some flat but most hilly (very hilly by my standards). My final race of the year was special and emotional, the 6 Inch Trail Marathon was the very first Ultra I ran back in 2011, so it was cool to celebrate my final race of the year back where it all began.
Am I an adrenaline junkie, an extreme athlete? No, definitely not. I’m just a 40 something passionate runner. But I do have the unique experience of having recovered from being paralysed and unable to walk due to an acquired brain injury. I was given a precious second chance and I’m living life to the fullest. Honestly, I don’t really think what I did was extraordinary. I wish I could have done more races, bigger races and harder races. There’s always tomorrow.