Lancaster man plays key role in organising unique trail race

Chris Nicholson.
Chris Nicholson.

A Lancaster man who pushed his way to the top of Snowdon in his wheelchair is helping to set up the first ever able-bodied and disabled inclusive trail race in the UK.

Chris Nicholson, a former professional rugby player, uses a chair after an accident suffered on the pitch, and he trains around Lancaster and the Lakes, often pushing up to 30 miles in a day in a bid to break a number of records.

He has joined forces with Original Mountain Marathon to stage the race at Cannock Chase on Sunday, May 5.

Alistaire MacGregor from OMM said: “It’s up to us to set the challenge, not decide whether a person can do it or not.

“We will welcome anyone who thinks they can complete the 10km trail course.”

Around 500 able-bodied and disabled competitors will line up together.

The race is so unique that representatives from Guinness World Records will create a new Trail Race category for the Wheelchair Class within the race.

With support for the event also coming from Paralympians, Invictus athletes and military charities, the hope is that the race will lead to new opportunities for disabled competitors in the future.

Chris, who has helped set the course said: “We wanted everyone to have the same challenge”.

The race is unique, the route has not been altered in any way to make it easier for any particular competitor, this will be a true test of everyone’s grit and determination.

Chris, who is also hoping to break the amateur wheelchair record in this year’s London Marathon while raising money for the Matt Hampson Foundation, said: “I need mud, rock and countryside.

“I looked around for a trail race I could take part in but all the event organisers I spoke to said they couldn’t cater for disabled athletes.”

The 10km inclusive trail race will be part of the OMM Running Festival on the muddy forest tracks at Cannock Chase on May 6.

Entries are welcome to anyone who would like to take part. For more information go to www.theomm.com/omm-festival.