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Alan shows sport makes a real difference
A RINGWOOD man whose parents were told when he was born that he would never walk or talk has competed in a race that promotes equality.
Alan Wilkinson, 43, who is supported by the Stable Home Family Trust, was born three months prematurely, and has a curvature of the spine and learning difficulties.
Surrounded by his friends and family, Alan officially started the annual Race for Equality before competing in the event, which was organised by Access Dorset to raise funds to improve local services and encourage everyone to get regular exercise.
And Alan has also secured a part-time job at Ringwood Recreation Centre’s gym.
Alan said: “I enjoy the training and love getting a medal at the end of the race.”
His father, also called Alan, added: “The Race for Equality has made a radical difference to Alan. “Before that he didn’t do much exercise at all – now he’s in the gym three times a week and he runs regularly.
“His asthma has improved, he’s grown in confidence and he’s lost almost four stone. “It’s amazing to think that through sport he has found such independence and joy. He’s proved such a hit at Ringwood Sports Centre that they’ve even given him a part time job in the gym.”
Race organiser Jonathan Waddington-Jones said: “Alan is an inspiration to our members. Having been born three months prematurely, he had to contend with curvature of the spine and other severe complaints and Race for Equality has inspired a whole new lease of life.
“Since taking part in our second race last year Alan has joined a gym and taken up athletics. Exercise is important for everyone – including disabled people and I hope Alan’s story will inspire others.
“We were delighted that he was able to join us and to cut the ribbon to start the event.”
The event, on September 29, was sponsored by Synergy Housing and included a 3km or 5km walk, run, cycle or wheel from Bournemouth to Southbourne and back.