A recently paralysed West Norfolk man hopes to raise more than £10,000 for charity by tackling the Berlin Marathon in his wheelchair.
Ben Tansley, of Ashwicken, is teaming up with celebrity friend Josh ‘JP’ Patterson for the gruelling test in Germany.
Mr Tansley, 33, who owns Heros gym in King’s Lynn, was left paralysed from the waist down following a motorbike accident just nine months ago.
He was heading home on the A149 at Holkham after visiting Josh on his birthday and to meet his friend’s baby daughter for the first time.
He received treatment in intensive care at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and at the Princess Royal Spinal Cord Injuries Centre in Sheffield but was told he will never walk again.
Despite this news, Mr Tansley was soon plotting an attempt to tackle a marathon.
“The idea came about when I had been paralysed for about three weeks,” said Mr Tansley. “I called Josh up and said I’d been told I would never walk again and then asked him to do a marathon with me.”
Mr Patterson, star of E4’s television show Made in Chelsea, will also use a wheelchair during the marathon as a show of support for his long-time friend.
“Josh is an athlete and he constantly challenges himself. But take all the attributes he has and put him in a wheelchair and he loses those. It is a level playing field and he’s doing something he’s never done before,” said Mr Tansley.
The marathon takes place in September and the two men are now working hard on their training schedule.
All the money raised will go to the Spinal Injuries Association, which supports people from the first moment they have been paralysed.
“I also want to raise awareness of being in a wheelchair. I wasn’t aware of what people go through and there’s so much to it that you don’t see,” said Mr Tansley.
“But if you offered me the chance to change it, I honestly don’t think I would. So much good has come from it. I get so many messages from other paralysed people who have been inspired by me.”
Mr Tansley took part in this year’s Grand East Anglian Run and completed the course in his wheelchair in one hour and twenty minutes.
He is also off to Mount Snowdon in July as part of a team tackling the big climb. A group of nurses intend to push Mr Tansley on the journey up the mountain but, typically, he has other ideas.
“I’ll let them push me a bit but only when they really need to,” he said, before adding: “Staying positive has been the biggest thing for me. I’m nine months on from my injury and I’m the same person.
“I’ve not had a down day. I had twenty minutes to myself. Some people take six years to get their head around it and some people take six weeks.
“The quicker you can the better you will be. Everything happens for a reason and I’ve not looked back.”
To show your support for Ben and Josh visit their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/berlinpush