Leading The Way

Lucy Michaeloudis

Paralympic fever is quietly beginning to build as we are now under a year from the next Paralympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, meanwhile in Leeds disability sport is still feeling the effects of the London Games 3 years on and 170 miles away.


Away from the bright lights of the stadiums and the expanse of the Olympic Park, athletes and amateurs alike are braving the mud and lacing up their trainers on a weekday night.


Disability Sports Officer, Ross Bibby, describes the effects of the Games as “very, very positive” as “there has been an increase in the number of participants” joining in the inclusive sport sessions on offer across Leeds. With such a wide variety of activities on offer from wheelchair racing on a Thursday evening to the biggest disability tag rugby festival taking place in September there is literally something for everybody, every single body.


There is still work to be done however as the bridge between ‘mainstream’ and ‘disability’ sport merges. Ross says


It’s about empowering some of the mainstream clubs to get people involved in an inclusive sport environment.


So what does this mean in a practical sense for people with disabilities who want to get involved with running?


Ross stresses the importance of courses for coaches who would like to train as guide runners for visually impaired runners. Training as a guide runner presents a new challenge for even the most experienced of runners who have the routes traced in their minds but Ross acknowledges the importance of getting over the initial fear.


Coaches always seem a little fearful of what they might encounter, but they are unnecessarily so as they enjoy the sessions so much.


A rewarding experience all round then it seems, especially as it develops communication skills and means running clubs can become more accessible.


If you are interested in becoming a guide runner or would like to find out about inclusive activities taking place across Leeds please see the links below.


Info on the England Athletics guide running workshop can be found here. Any Leeds LiRF’s that are interested in attending this workshop email your interest to


A deaf friendly course (with interpreters available on the day) is taking place on the 14th November 2015 in Leeds, see below:


Want more info on the Leeds Disability Sport Programme? Click here:



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