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From recovery to racing

Published:

Felix Barrow has made his return to swim, bike, run having been hit by a car and suffering life-changing injuries that see him now competing as a paratriathlete.

Barrow was a successful non-para athlete and member of Chapel TriStars before the accident, jumping into his first race only a few weeks after being introduced to the sport by his friends.

He was a good runner and swam with a local swimming club, with his friends getting him involved with the triathlon club to bring the disciplines together.

Alongside his siblings and a couple of other families, Barrow would compete in events where he quickly found his feet and was a serial winner. Having started secondary school, Barrow was walking to school one morning when he was hit by a car. Having been airlifted to Southampton General Hospital, he spent four weeks in intensive care in a coma and four weeks in high dependency, with a further seven months rehabilitation in hospital before coming home in July 2016.

As well as breaking multiple bones, including his femur, Barrow suffered a brain injury which affects his speech.

Speaking through his mum, Barrow commented on how important the sport was to him with it being all he knew and something he wanted to get back to. Vanessa, Barrow’s mum, said: “After his accident, he had to learn to walk and talk and breathe and eat and everything again. It’s when they say things to you in hospital like ‘he might never walk again’ or ‘he might never do this’, we’re not that kind of family to accept that.”

Having ridden a trike as part of his rehabilitation in hospital, swimming and running formed a part of his recovery by getting back into the pool and taking on ‘Couch to 5k’. He also made the move to a bike at home by practicing in his garden to be back to swim, bike, run. “We decided that we could get back to this, not in the same arena, but doing it again,” Vanessa added. “We looked at all ways in which we could compete.

He’s been classified in swimming, he’s got his triathlon classification and cycling.” Barrow races in the PTS3 category and raced at Mallory Park in September at the British Paratriathlon Super Sprint Championships having made his first paratriathlon race earlier in the summer. Barrow commented about racing at Mallory: “It was so cool. That was one of my last events [prior to the accident]. I saw my old tri coach [Gary Cooper].”

Longer term, Barrow is targeting the Paralympic Games, with having a goal a key driver in his recovery and now in his training.

Barrow added: “When I’m struggling on the turbo trainer, I just think that you’ve got to keep pushing yourself, there’s not a choice.”

You can find out more about paratriathlon and taking up the sport by visiting the British Triathlon website on the link below.

Paratriathlon

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