Steeple Morden woman with MS sets up Making Sparks Triathlon Club for those with health conditions
PUBLISHED: 17:37 19 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:05 20 September 2016
Multiple sclerosis has proved no obstacle to a Steeple Morden woman's determination to provide an accessible triathlon club to other people with the condition.
Victoria Bovill-Lamb, 44, has started the Making Sparks Triathlon Club in hopes of creating a supportive environment for people with MS, and other health conditions, to participate in the sport.
The club will also participate in triathlons in aid of the MS Society, which supports people affected by the condition to live full and independent lives.
Victoria first started having MS symptoms 10 years ago while on a career break in Florida.
Washing her hair one morning in the shower, Victoria experienced a searing pain in her upper back.
A few weeks later, she woke up to the smell of burning toast and numbness in her foot.
“As the day progressed, the sensation moved up my right leg and into my lower back.
“MS is really unpredictable, and all of a sudden I was walking around town as if I was drunk – stumbling into people and street furniture.
“I was referred for two MRIs and was diagnosed with relapsing MS within two days.”
Four years later, Victoria was told that she would likely lose her balance and would need to rely on a wheelchair. In defiance, she resigned from a highly stressful job in London and moved to Australia, where she worked as a lecturer and took up triathlon.
Victoria returned home in March 2015 and, while she fully immersed herself into training and competed in two novice triathlons, she says she struggled to keep up with local clubs:
“I’ve trained with various triathlon and running clubs.
“While they’ve always make me feel welcome, I found the evening training sessions frustrating because my fatigue made it difficult to run for an hour after working all day.
“I often felt left out when I couldn’t run as fast as the other runners. Especially because I knew that I would be able to keep up on other days.”
Victoria says that the Making Sparks Triathlon Club is for novice triathletes and those interested in relay triathlons. “It’s important to have a club for people with conditions like MS,” she said.
“Many people aren’t able to participate in all three sports; some people have difficulty running, but are keen swimmers and cyclists. Some want to finish a full triathlon.
“Whatever your interests and abilities, we’re a club for like-minded friends who understand what it’s like keeping active with a health condition.”
Find more information about Making Sparks Triathlon Club at www.makingsparkstriathlon.co.uk. For advice and support, or information about MS. visit www.mssociety.org.uk or call the free helpline at 0808 800 8000.