Hudgell Solicitors ambassador Paul Spence has completed yet another impressive fitness challenge following his recovery from a serious brain injury – running a 50 kilometre marathon in the Nevada Desert that he hadn’t even trained for.Categories
The Burning Man 50K Ultra Marathon promotes itself as ‘one of the most unique and insane 50ks out there’, with competitors needing to wear dusk masks throughout the 31 mile course, which is staged over four laps.
Paul, of Hull, has thrown himself into completing a number of grueling physical challenges over the past 12 months to raise funds for his charity, Paul For Brain Recovery, which has the long-term goal of opening a walk-in support centre in the city for those who are trying to rebuild their lives following brain injuries.
He himself suffered a serious brain injury when the victim of an unprovoked attack in 2012, facing a three-year road to recovery after being told by doctors that he ‘would never be the same man again’.
Paul channelled all of his focus into positivity and fitness, and after completing his first full marathon three years to the day of the attack on him this April, he went on to run four marathons in consecutive days around the coastline of Ibiza in May.
His recent sight-seeing trip to America with friends was meant to offer rest and relaxation after an exhausting year, but having seen The Burning Man event promoted when arriving in Nevada, Paul decided to take on his biggest challenge yet.
“Once I saw this challenge I just thought I had to give it a try and experience it,” Paul said.
“We had been travelling around and had headed to Nevada for a holiday festival when I saw this Ultra Marathon being advertised, and that anybody was able to take part. I hadn’t done any training for it, but I just thought I’d see how I went.
“I’d taken my flags for my Paul For Brain Recovery charity with me to display as we travelled around the country, so I knew it would be a good opportunity to promote the work we are doing, and signed up.”
Paul was one of around 100 competitors who started off at 5am in the pitch dark, completing the gruelling course in a time of just over six hours, despite facing temperatures of between 35 and 40 degrees centigrade.
“I knew it would be a challenge in the hot and arid conditions, but I just cracked on,” he added.
“It wasn’t easy, particularly running in the sand with dust masks on, but I got through it alongside a Great Kiwi guy called Brendan.
“I was really delighted to complete the full course. There were lots of people at the start saying they only wanted to complete one or two laps, but I was determined, and once I got half way I knew I’d do it all.
“It was a fantastic experience and something I am very proud to have done, as hopefully it again sends out a message to all other people who suffer brain injuries, and those who have looked to me for inspiration, that you can keep pushing yourself and keep achieving new goals and reaching new milestones.
“At times you face a long hard road, but no matter how tough the path is, we can always get through it. Anything is possible, never give up.”
In his role as an ambassador for Hudgell Solicitors, Paul is able to offer support and advice to brain injury victims being supported by the firm, using his own experiences to give people a real-life example and mentor when facing the challenges on the long road to recovery ahead.
Paul has always believed fitness was key to him finding positivity after his injury, giving him a real focus day to day.
And with the country marking National Fitness Day, he says it can play a massive part for all those on the road to recovery after brain injuries.
“Health and fitness were instrumental in my recovery,” he said.
“As soon as I was well enough, I started doing small fitness routines and researching healthy foods for the body and brain. I was mentally weak but I was physically able, so I used this as my strength.
“I believe this focus saved my life and played a major role in recovering as well as I have, and that is why I want to urge people to push their bodies and their minds.
“Eat well, train well, and think well, and you’re doing all the right things to become a well person again.”