Ollie finishes third in mini marathon
ASHFORD athlete Ollie Bourne is celebrating after landing third place in the wheelchair three-mile mini-marathon for the under-14s in London on Sunday.
It is the culmination of six-months' training at the Julie Rose Stadium as part of a community programme helping people with a wide range of disabilities take part in athletics.
"Ollie came 10th overall in the under 17s race and a brilliant third in the under 14s class, we are all really proud of him," said coach Pete Le Rossignol.
The race finished in the final section of the London Marathon course on Sunday as thousands from across Britain raced, and thousands more cheered them through the capital.
Ollie is a pupil at John Wallis Academy in South Ashford and has Perthes disease, which means the top of his leg bone doesn't get sufficient blood supply, so for the past couple of years he has had to use a wheelchair.
The Herald met Ollie during his training in the depths of winter when he was completing circuits of the 2,000-metre track at Julie Rose.
He told us then: "My main aim at the moment is to prepare for the three-mile wheelchair mini marathon in London.
"These sessions are a brilliant opportunity for me to use the professional knowledge here at the stadium and get myself in decent shape."
After training at least twice a week in a specially-adapted wheelchair the youngster built up his stamina and last week Ashford Leisure Trust took delivery of a racing wheelchair.
And Ollie turned in a time of 21 minutes – smashing his own three-mile record by 20 minutes in the old training chair.
Fellow athlete Taylor Pearce, 13, from Folkestone, has also won national recognition since joining the training group in Ashford.
The youngster who attends Brockhill Park School is ranked the fastest for her age in the whole country after she raced at Kingston the weekend before the London Marathon and covered the 100 metres in 14.75 seconds.
"That makes her number one in Britain for her age after she was classified by her disability in February," said Pete.
The Herald has also interviewed Taylor during her training. She lost her lower arm to cancer when she was just five weeks old and even as she trained she told the newspaper that she wanted to get involved in coaching disabled youngsters.
The two have notched up early successes for the scheme run by Ashford Leisure Trust which started just six months ago.
Pete, the trust's community development manager who ran many miles alongside Ollie as he prepared for Sunday, said: "The scheme caters for the needs of anyone, across ages right through to the over-40s in the area and we look to develop the talents each individual has.
"The needs of each individual vary, but we are able to advise all of them on making the best of the abilities they have and while it might be fun for some, for others it really does give them the chance to prepare for competition."
For more information please contact the community development manager Pete Le Rossignol on 01233 667 125 or e-mail email@example.com