Monday, 15 December 2014


Last month I went to Mauritius to visit my Grandma. It was my fifth time to the country and the last time I went was nearly five years ago. My mum is originally from there and every time I’ve been it has felt like home. We never stay in fancy hotels, mainly because we can’t afford it, but I think if I returned again, I’d rather stay in a little two or three star, as you get the chance to appreciate the culture.

We stayed at the Aanari in Flic en Flac. It was a great location, not only was it across the road from the beach, but it was just a half hour bus ride to visit my Grandma, which was the closest we’ve ever stayed before meaning we could visit more often. The weather was lush and I thoroughly enjoyed eating all of the local cuisine. The fresh beach food, refreshing coconut water and just picked lychee were all amazing.

The ten nights flew by and I was back in frosty England before I knew it. However, I think I needed the vitamin D, as I’m feeling revitalised.

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Big Fat Five

It has been an extremely long time since I wrote about my beloved Calvin. Last month marked five years since we started working together, I guess that makes us an experienced partnership. I can’t believe he’s nearly seven; he’s still my baby and still acts like a puppy. Having Calvin as my Guide Dog hasn’t stopped being a daily adventure and alongside his roguish behaviour, he has actually done some amazing work this year.

Calvin and I are moving out! I will blog more about that separately, but for Calvin this has meant learning lots of new routes, which are much more testing than my current village location. Thankfully, Calvin is bomb proof and has been relishing the challenge and well has been delighted with the treat rewards. Being a modest character, he has no qualms in nudging me insistently with his nose for a treat and praise every time he finds a crossing box, post box, bus stop or door! We are literally glued to the spot until he gets his payment. It is fair to say that Calvin has me wrapped around his paw. He knows he’s my ticket to independence, the smart so and so!

This year Calvin has also been guiding for two. No, I’m not pregnant, that would really mess up the athletics career! I feel a bit like a teenager writing this down, but I have a boyfriend who is a cane user. On the whole, Calvin has been coping remarkably well with me having another man in my life. He does barge in on cuddles from time to time, but I was fully expecting him to murder any potential lover. The most amusing thing he does is blank my other half when he’s in harness. He literally won’t wag his tail at the sight of him or even when he’s stroked. Apparently, guiding for two isn’t in his contract and he’s making it fully known that he’s not happy with the situation. However, Calvin has guided us around Leicester, Cambridge, Ely, Peterborough, Norwich and even London. It has been really liberating to visit so many places that I think if I just had a cane I wouldn’t dare attempt on my own.

Despite all of his hard work, Calvin is a fatty and I think always will be. Earlier this year he gave me a scare, as I found a couple of lumps. Thinking the worst, I took him to the vets and they sent off the cells to the lab. Turns out, they are fatty lumps, which was a massive relief. Calvin’s diet consists of diet dog food, tiny treats whilst he’s learning new routes and anything else he can Hoover up as he walks. I have never thought to feed him off of my plate, I dread to think how huge he would be if I ever did. Calvin is a bit on the chunky side, but generally he is a healthy pup and that’s the main thing.

Thanks Calvin for five fantastic years, here’s a virtual treat...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


I just wanted to link to a couple of articles on the net about me, so I have a record for myself more than anything. The first is on a website called ‘Set Your Sights’. I participated in the Retina Race in September, which was filmed by Novartis and I blogged about my experience. You can view the footage and my blog post here.

The second is an article on The Open University website, which encompasses my OU experience, as well as talks about my Commonwealth Games experience. I loved my OU experience, so it was nice to give something back. You can view the article here.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Support Selina to Sprint to Success

I have spent a month sending the below profile to companies and organisations, but have yet to secure any funding or sponsorship. The Original document has two pictures of me in action at the Commonwealths and my contact details. If anyone is willing to help, please get in touch.

Support Selina to Sprint to Success
I placed 5th at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the T11-12 100m. Help me go one step further and become a medallist at a major championships.
Name: Selina Litt
Age: 26
Location: Leicestershire
Sport: Para Athletics
Classification: T11 (totally blind)
Event: 100m
I receive no financial backing to support my athletics career and therefore have to self-fund the following-
Coach/guide runner
Personal Trainer
Gym membership
Physio/sports massage
Travel to training and competitions
Competition entry fees
Specialist clothing/footwear
Specialist nutrition
Eye History:
I have a rare genetic eye condition called Norrie’s Disease. Born fully sighted, I lost all of the sight in my right eye at the age of 2 and some in the left. Between the ages of 10 and 18 despite countless eye operations my vision gradually deteriorated. I now just have light perception in my left eye.
Sporting History:
Due to having a sporty family, my visual impairment never stopped me from involving myself in sport. At primary school I was a member of the cross country and netball teams. I joined my first athletics club at the age of 11, but soon discovered that my decreased vision made running solo extremely challenging. It took another 5 years to find an athletics club that specialised in supporting the visually impaired. In 2009, at the age of 20, I joined Charnwood Athletics club, found myself a guide runner, started competing and aspired to compete at the London 2012 Paralympics. Towards the end of 2011 I made a difficult decision to change coach and guide runner in order to have one to one attention. In spite of failing to make London 2012 selection, I had faith in my new coach, Lincoln Asquith (former GB sprinter and guide runner) and his son, Ryan Asquith (my first male guide runner) that I could compete competitively at a world level. In June 2014 Team England selected me to represent them at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the T11-12 100m. Although the classification was mixed, meaning I had to race athletes with some vision, I still managed to finish 5th at my first major championships, narrowly missing out on contesting for a medal in the final (only the top 4 progress due to the guide runners).
The Future:
Now I have had a taste of what it is like to compete on the world stage, I don’t want to stop. The next aim is to qualify for the 2015 World Championships in Doha with the ultimate dream being to represent Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Graduated with First Class Honours in English Language and Literature from The Open University in 2013
Ranked No.1 in Great Britain/Europe for T11 100m in 2013
T11 60m indoor British record holder 8.77secs
100m PB 13.93secs
5th at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games T11-12 100m

5 Fun Facts:
Owner of cheeky Labrador cross retriever Guide Dog, Calvin
Absolute book worm
Formula 1 Ferrari supporter
Music, film and theatre lover, learning to play the piano
Adrenaline junkie, never afraid of a new challenge
I receive no financial backing to support my athletics career. Please support me in whatever way you can, as I endeavour to sprint to success.
Social Media:
Face Book:
Twitter: @selinalitt

Thank you

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Moment

Michael Johnson once said ‘life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter. Long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best’.

On Monday 28 July at 10:35am it was finally time for me to have my moment. For so long I had dreamed of and worked towards representing my country, competing at the highest level and feeling like a world class athlete. When my name was announced to the crowd and 44 thousand people cheered in reply, it made all of the struggles I had ever faced in life fade away. At that precise moment in time, I had proved to myself that it is possible to do anything you put your mind to.

Lots of things appeared to be going wrong on the morning of my race, but nothing was going to faze me on my day. So what if I ripped my number, as I was pulling on my sprint suit and there was nothing I could do about breaking the zip on my running tights. None of that was going to prevent me from running. I had to have my left knee and right ankle strapped up by the physio team before registering at the England Athletics office and then going for breakfast. In the past eating before a race has been a challenge for me with the nerves usually getting the better of me. However, not on my day. A bowl of cereal, two croissants and a strawberry yoghurt went down a treat. We caught the 8.15 bus to Hampden Stadium and I was still feeling calm. Whilst warming up, my ankle began to throb. I had sprained it four days before by missing a couple of steps in the village. I wasn’t going to let it stop me and told myself the pain was purely psychological.

In first call up I was feeling ready. In second call up there was a misunderstanding and they didn’t allow us to use the warm-up track inside to do a few runs before going out to race. Everybody was in the same position, so that was that. The noise of the crowd didn’t over-whelm me when I went out to the stadium. I made sure I came the day before to soak up the atmosphere. I had prepared, I was ready.

When it comes to athletics and training, I am a very serious and focussed athlete, rarely cracking a smile. However, a smile did creep across my face when my name was announced to the crowd. As I climbed into the blocks and tightened the guide rope around my hand, the nerves swelled inside me and I felt my arms shake slightly in the set position.

I unfortunately didn’t go on the b of the bang, as the last thing I wanted to do was false start. This meant my start wasn’t as electric as I would have liked, but I drove out of the blocks and got up to speed well. For the first time in a race this year, my turnover felt snappy and I was coming off the track nicely. My guide runner and I were running in perfect harmony.

Another smile spread across my face when I crossed the line because I had done it, I had lived the dream and it honestly felt amazing.

The smile quickly faded when I learnt the time, as I was convinced I was going to sprint to a personal best performance. On the bright side I managed to come second in my heat as predicted, behind the athlete who would go on to win silver in the final. There were three heats with the first in each progressing to the final and one fastest loser spot. I just missed out on making the final, as I was the second fastest loser meaning I finished fifth overall in my first major championships. It was gutting not to make the final and not run as fast as I would have liked, but I placed much higher than I was predicted, remembering I was running against T12 athletes who have some useful vision.

In dreams events go to plan. In reality you never know what’s going to happen. I represented England and competed at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games finishing fifth in my first major championships. Nobody can take that away from me.

Dreamed it, lived it, loved it!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Village Life

I had just gotten used to the routine at the preparation camp when it was time to leave. Again on reflection, I wish I was excited about heading to the Commonwealth village, but the nerves of going to a new place over shadowed any other emotion. We flew with Air Estonia from Manchester to Glasgow and when we arrived at the airport we were greeted by traditional Scottish dancing and music. It was a short coach ride to the village. You had to pass through airport style security every time you entered the village and your accreditation was constantly checked.

It never occurred to me that they call athlete villages, villages because that’s exactly what they are! I never imagined the space to be so vast. The place was separated into countries and all I remember is having to pass through the Australian and Welsh quarters before reaching England. The accommodation was made up of lots of houses with approximately 20 people per house. They seemed to be two houses joint together, as mine had two staircases side by side. It was a good 10 minute walk to the dining hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The dining hall was something else. It was absolutely massive and no matter what time of day, it was always bustling with people. The food and drink was available 24hrs a day with dishes to suit every taste bud. Despite it being a dining hall for athletes, the dessert counters were a firm favourite with everyone it seemed including me, although I managed to resist attacking it until after I competed. There were some heart sinking moments when they ran out of your favourite flavoured ice-cream, cookies or muffins. Surprisingly, I only put on 3 pounds in weight after 2 weeks of eating too much food. Other than the main dining hall there was casual dining, which served BBQ style food and there were also lots of recreation centres providing drinks and snacks.

Alongside the free food and drink, there was a free laundry service and more importantly a free salon. It only seemed polite to take advantage of the hospitality, so I ensured I got my hair cut, nails manicured and treated myself to a facial too. When telling a friend about the great freebies, she teased that I would come back fat and beautiful!

Another vital part of village life was pin swapping. Each athlete was given 10 pins of their country’s flag to exchange. I was quite late to the pin party and didn’t attach mine to my accreditation until after I raced. Logically, to me anyway, I pinned all of mine down one side of my accreditation so when I swapped I knew which ones were my England pins and planned to put the new ones on the other side. Apparently, this wasn’t how regular athletes proceeded resulting in a fair few comments about my pinage! I didn’t do too well at swapping pins, ending up giving most of them away with nothing in return. However, I did manage to get Australian and Nauru flags, which I was pleased about. I bet not many people got Nauru!

Living in the village was amazing. It was so surreal having the opportunity to speak to people from all over the world, as well as have casual conversations with world class athletes. They called it the friendly games and it truly was. As a para athlete I was lucky enough to have the chance to integrate with mainstream athletes and I didn’t feel inferior once.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Prep Camp

I am not sure if words can describe the last month of my life, but I am going to try. On Wednesday 16 July, I travelled to Manchester for the England Athletics Commonwealth Games preparation camp. Looking back, I wish I was excited about the prospect. However, when you can’t see going to a new place is always daunting and even more so when you don’t really know anyone and you are unsure of what to expect. The initial plan was to keep Calvin, my Guide Dog with me throughout the experience, although I quickly found it difficult to take care of my own welfare, never mind having to worry about spending and feeding another being. I therefore had to make the extremely difficult decision to send my companion home in order to reduce my own stress levels. Guide Dogs are unbelievably helpful animals, yet in an unfamiliar environment with nobody to make it a familiar setting, achieving basic tasks such as finding a suitable spending area for your Guide Dog provides additional unnecessary challenges.

For some reason I thought the camp was going to be quite structured. However, I soon learnt that other than mealtimes, how you spent your time was completely up to you. At the start of the camp I made a trip to the team physios, as I had been running through a knee injury since last winter. It soon became apparent that the physio hub was going to become my second home. On average throughout my Commonwealth experience, I was receiving physio treatment at least twice per day whether it was being strapped, massaged or stretched. When you are not a funded athlete, it is impossible to access such an invaluable service and I am so grateful that I was able to receive specialist treatment even for a short period. Due to my injury, I had to take some time off of the track, but this didn’t mean I wasn’t training. I still did pool and gym sessions.

During the camp, we were treated to a fair few inspirational speeches. These included talks from the likes of Kelly Sotherton, Tom Parsons and Andy Turner. Each one highlighted the achievement of being selected to represent Team England, shared their lows as well as their highs and all advised that more than anything, we should all enjoy the experience. The speeches were one of my favourite elements of the preparation camp, as they always enhanced my psychological outlook.

Whilst at the camp, I turned 26. Last year I celebrated my birthday by going to Monkey World. This year I was in the process of living out my dream at the Commonwealth Games. I am not sure any birthday celebration will be able to compete again. Embarrassingly and surprisingly at dinner time that evening, I was presented with a birthday card and cake. It was a pretty special moment having the entire athletics team sing happy birthday to me.

On Tuesday 22 July, we left the preparation camp and headed to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games village...

Monday, 16 June 2014

Dare To Dream

Once upon a time there was a girl who dared to dream. She dreamed of becoming a world class athlete and representing her country at major championships. Athletic ability wasn’t a trait that came naturally to her. However, dedication, determination and discipline were characteristics that had always been encrypted within her DNA. These would prove to be the necessary tools to turn a far fetched fantasy into a reality.

On Monday 2 June 2014 at exactly 08:08pm I received the magical phone call. Team England had selected me to compete at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the T12 100m. Suddenly, the years of blood, sweat and tears had gained a purpose. I am actually a T11 athlete, but will be competing up a classificationsince there are only a select number of disability events incorporated into the main games. My event will take place on Monday 28 July, which is the second day of the athletics action.

So now begins the next chapter. You can follow the unfolding of events either on here, by liking my page on Face Book or following me on Twitter. To view the full England Athletics Team just click here.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014


I did intend to write a single post about seeing Kodaline and McBusted in concert, but unfortunately an evil stomach bug prevented me from going to see McBusted last night. I honestly don’t think I have ever missed an event I have paid for in advance before due to illness. It is quite frustrating to have wasted my money and more so to have missed out on what no doubt would have been a great night out. Thankfully, I am feeling much better today.

It was over a month ago now that I saw Kodaline live at Birmingham’s O2 Academy. It is predominantly a standing venue, but luckily the disabled section was seated. I am far too old to stand for long periods these days! Kodaline have to be the coolest band I have seen to date, as you probably know I tend to edge more towards pop than rock. However, as soon as I heard Kodaline’s debut single ‘High Hopes’ on the radio, I pre-ordered their album and have been hooked ever since.

It was a completely different experience seeing a non pop act. The atmosphere was similar with people singing along to the songs and cheering uncontrollably, but there were no fancy gimmicks, no costume changes and very little conversation. It was all about the music, which seemed to just work. It was also interesting that they didn’t finale with their biggest hit, as is usually the case. I enjoyed every second and look forward to their next album.

I’ve got high hopes...

Friday, 11 April 2014

Comps in Brum

Last month saw me compete in Birmingham twice, for two different sports; goalball and athletics.

Birmingham Novice Tournament:
This was the second tournament I have played for Nottingham and this time I was playing for our A team, although both of our teams are very good. We played as a three, so had no substitutes. I quite enjoy this set up since the games don’t last for long at that level. Unfortunately, we lost our first game, a combination of poor communication and silly mistakes. This meant the highest we could finish was fifth overall, which we easily managed floating through our following three games. To be honest I felt like we had the ability to win the entire tournament, but there are no second chances.

I was hoping to play at intermediate level tomorrow in Cambridge, but a freak injury has prevented me, which I’m gutted about. I’m not sure how much more goalball I’ll be playing in the coming months, as athletics will now take priority with just seven weeks to go until Commonwealth selection.

Midlands Open:
I have trained at The Alexander stadium a million times and raced outdoors there on several occasions. However, I have never competed indoors there before and don’t intend to again. The warm up area was like a cattle market and when you need two lanes to do even striders, it’s near impossible. I made the best use of what space was available before my race.

For the first time ever I nearly false started, which immediately impacted upon my performance. 60m in 8.91, nothing special and nowhere near the speed I showed in Glasgow. Nevertheless, it was a good opportunity to get another race in before the outdoor season commences.

It’s still yet to be decided, but I will open up my outdoor campaign either on 30 April or 7 May depending on how I am feeling. One thing is for certain, this is going to be my most testing year to date, but hopefully my most successful one too. Commonwealths, Europeans, let’s go!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sixing It Up

They grow up so fast! Calvin is six today! He has unfortunately had to work through his birthday, as I am currently doing some work experience at school to help with my long-term goal of becoming a teacher. I have to give Calvin credit, he plays his Guide Dog role very well at school until he spots left overs from break or lunchtime. He is generally attentive in lessons, although the odd attempt has been made to thieve from pupils school bags and one pupil alerted me to the fact that he was trying to give himself lead poisoning by chewing a pencil in class the other day. Equally, the pupils are great, knowing not to fuss or distract him, it’s the teachers in the staff room that can’t help themselves!

Health wise, Calvin is still having seizures from time to time, but not regularly enough to warrant daily medication. However, he is currently on tablets, as he has developed a rash in his never regions. I’m sure if he knew I was sharing that information, he would be dying with embarrassment right now! It is just a result of an allergic reaction to cement dust since we are currently doing some house renovations. His crown jewels will be back to sparkly condition in no time.

At six years old there are no signs of Calvin slowing down. He still has his adorable puppy dog habits whilst growing into a mature, confident and assertive character.

Happy Birthday Calvin

Thursday, 6 March 2014

World Book Day

As an English graduate, it is only natural that I have a passion for books. At primary school age I could often be found with a book pressed up against my nose and I was very proud to have a pin badge stating I was a school librarian. When I was ten my vision dramatically deteriorated resulting in me no longer being able to access standard print. However, I have vivid memories of reading the Harry Potter series under my CCTV despite the massive eye strain and gradual increase in magnification over the years, as my sight continued to fade away.

From the age of eleven, I was encouraged to learn Braille, but I had no real interest in learning since as far as I was concerned I could still read print and Braille was for proper blind people, which I certainly was not! My attitude changed when I went to The Royal National College for the Blind In Hereford. I began to learn Braille again and by the January I was no longer able to access print even under my CCTV. The final Harry Potter book was due for release later that year and I had to read it no matter what. My first plan involved trying to train my eyes to see again. I spent countless days, weeks and months attempting to read under my CCTV praying that the blurred text would come back into focus once more. This plan unfortunately failed, but I still possess the strong belief that if we are not proactive with our senses they will not work to their full potential. Even though I only have light perception remaining, I will regularly make a conscious effort to locate windows in a room, count headlights on cars or generally have a look around to find any sort of light source. Back to my Harry Potter dilemma, I felt Braille was my only option in order to discover if Harry could conquer Lord Voldermort or not. It took me two long hard months to read The Deathly Hallows in Braille, but I did it!

Thereafter, I became a member of RNIB’s Library Service, loaning various titles in Braille, which to this day take me an age to read. It wasn’t until I began my degree that I started to make use of audio/talking books. Being a book snob, audio/talking books never appealed before, as I felt that they take away from the reading experience. The interpretation of characters is that of someone else’s imagination and not your own. However, purely for speed purposes, I turned to the dark side.

Now, I am also a member of RNIB’s Talking Books Service. Admittedly, the majority of my reading these days is done via listening rather than touch. It is a convenience thing. Audio is faster and much easier to transport, so ideal for extensive train journeys or holidays. Nevertheless, Braille has its advantages too, the reading experience is more personal and new books are usually produced in Braille, sometimes years before it gets recorded into audio. It is nice to have the choice.

There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book (Josh Jameson)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Life's A Drag

Last week I was at the theatre again, this time to see the ‘feel good’ musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It was jam packed with karaoke hits and camp comedy. There appeared to be lots of visual humour, as the audience often erupted with laughter and I sat confused until one of my friends whispered some audio description to me. Now I have seen a professional audio described performance, I think I was made more aware of how much I miss out on by not being able to see. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed the show and it wouldn’t prevent me from seeing future productions. In fact, I hope to see Fame next month.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Glasgow International Match

Earlier this month I received an invite from British Athletics to compete in the Glasgow International Match on Saturday 25 January in the visually impaired 60m. The Glasgow International Match is Scotland vs Great Britain vs Commonwealth Select vs America. I was asked to represent the Commonwealth Select Team which was captained by the public’s favourite, Kim Collins. The event was broadcast live on BBC One making it the most prestigious competition I had ever participated in.

I flew alone from East Midlands airport to Glasgow. British Athletics arranged all of the assistance for me and everything ran smoothly. Once in Glasgow I was met at the airport by the transport to go to the hotel.

My first impression of the hotel was that it was massive and I was surprised to find my room was on the fourteenth floor! I knew at that point there would be no way I would be getting around the hotel by myself. Thankfully, my guide runner’s room was just down the corridor. The evening meal was buffet style and I went back to the room with the intention of having an early night.

At dinner I heard rumours that everyone was sharing a room, but as I climbed into bed I assumed I was going to be on my own, as nobody else had arrived. However, around 10.30pm, I’m not sure if I was asleep or not, I about had a heart attack as I thought my bedroom door was being banged down. Turned out just to be my roommate.

Later that night I must have been thinking about the following day, I realised that I had forgotten to pack my trainers! At no other point during packing did it occur to me that I may need them. I just kept checking that I had my race spikes etc. A mission was launched to borrow a pair from someone, but none were located.

I normally struggle to eat much on race day, but had no trouble consuming breakfast. My race wasn’t until 3.47pm, so I had a relaxed morning listening to music. We arrived at the track a good couple of hours before my race and I proceeded to warm up in my Timberland style boots, not cool. I planned to do drills in my socks, unfortunately this plan was abandoned as it would have been too slippery on the basketball court.

The actual sprint straight where you could practice your starts/runs was situated just behind the main stands of the stadium, so you could hear the crowd and all of the action. Again, this should have made me anxious, but I found myself feeling quite relaxed. My train of thought was that I dedicate my entire life to the sport and it is what I have wanted to do with my life for years, so now I had finally been given the opportunity to prove myself on a large stage what would be the point of spoiling it all with nerves. My passion is athletics, so I was going to enjoy myself.

On the start line I had completely forgotten that I would be on TV and I think it helped not being able to see how many people there were in the crowd. One good thing about indoor competition too is that you don’t feel cold waiting around at the beginning. The race itself was over in a flash. It had its strengths and weaknesses and as I crossed the line I had no idea where I had finished.

I was given the time of 8.77secs and I was satisfied. I had only raced 60m a couple of weeks previously only managing 9.01secs, so it was a significant improvement. When I also discovered I had not come last beating for the first time in a head to head my biggest T11 rival, I was further satisfied. I can’t say at any point that I felt elated, as I know there is more in the tank. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it is definitely something I would rush to do again.

When I got my bag back, I could hear my phone going crazy as it received text after text of congratulations. Without sounding too cheesy, each and every one made me get that warm fuzzy feeling inside!

The calm after the storm. It felt like an incredibly long day, mostly because my flight back home wasn’t until 6pm. Nevertheless, it was quite nice enjoying the hotel hospitality, especially the hot chocolate I had with cream and chocolate balls! Little things.

The assistance at the airport all ran smoothly again and Calvin was beside himself with excitement when he saw me, literally unable to stop jumping all over me. I got home and watched myself back on the TV. I was a little disappointed with the commentary and can safely say it was much more exciting racing than watching it!

Thanks so much to everyone for all of the messages of support. There are a few questions that I keep being asked so will clear them all up here!

Q: Why were you running with people who could see?
A: It was a mixed classification race, T11, T12 and T13 athletes. T12 and T13 athletes are partially sighted. We are not usually combined at major championships, but we were for this particular race.

Q: What was that big thing you were wearing over your face?
A: All T11 athletes have to wear a blindfold to ensure we don’t cheat. I perhaps need to invest in a more discrete one, but my current one is so comfortable!

Q: Was it the Commonwealth Games?
A: No, I represented the Commonwealth Select Team who won the competition overall, but it wasn’t the Commonwealths. However, I hope to qualify for the Commonwealths this summer, which are being held in Glasgow too.

Q: So what does the race mean? Did you get a medal? Does it mean you’ve qualified for the Commonwealths?
A: The race doesn’t really mean anything significant, it was just another competition, but it happened to be on TV.

Productivity breeds success

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Snow White

On Saturday I went to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Panto at the Birmingham Hippodrome. It is a little late in the season for pantomime, but this was an audio described performance with a touch tour prior to the show. It was my first time at the Hippodrome and I was impressed from start to finish.

We had ten visually impaired and zero fully sighted people in our group. As soon as we walked through the doors, the staff came over to offer assistance. They took us through the touch tour, this is where you get to explore the stage and props in order to help with the appreciation of the performance. We had the opportunity to feel the giant mirror, enormous dragon, the dwarfs home, various character costumes amongst many other things. It is fascinating to observe the great attention to detail.

Between the end of the touch tour and the beginning of the show, we had three members of staff that stayed with our group. They demonstrated how to operate the audio description headsets guided us to buy food and showed us where the toilets were. During the performance, they looked after Calvin for me. Usually, I keep him with me at the theatre, but it is a bit boring for him sitting around doing nothing and quite squashed for us both in between the seats. They walked, spent and fed him for me, bringing him back at the interval.

I was also a virgin to live audio description, so had no idea how detailed it would be. The describer obviously had a script to work from, but there were many occasions that he had to describe off script as in pantomime it isn’t unusual for the cast to alter parts slightly. The audio description definitely helped with knowing what was going on and it was comforting not to be at a loss with visual jokes meaning you could laugh at the same time as the rest of the audience. I found I preferred to not listen to the description during the songs and through the entire performance I only had one ear piece in, as I found it difficult to hear the main action with both.

The show itself was amazing! There were a few stars in the production and Goc Wan stole the show for me. He was fabulous! Compared to Aladdin that I saw last month, this performance was on another level and restored my faith in pantomime.

I am looking forward to returning to the Hippodrome in September for my favourite musical of all time, Cats. Again I have booked for the audio described performance and touch tour.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Half Birthday

Today marks my twenty five and a half year birthday. Birthdays always make you contemplate life, so it seems a good time to reflect on 2013 and look at what this year may bring.

I think I will call it ‘the year of socialising and success’. I was thrilled to finally graduate and even better with First Class Honours. I was also pleased that I met my athletics target of dipping under fourteen seconds and as a bonus topped the European rankings for my classification.

It would take more than my fingers and toes to count the amount of new friends I made last year, some through Action, others through Victa and some just through friends of friends. I feel quite lucky to have met so many amazing people and look forward to having more adventures, giggles and let’s face it stressful moments (they will know what I mean)!

I like even numbers. Although the year has hardly begun, I am going to name it ’the year of opportunity’. This year is going to be a rollercoaster ride of highs, lows and loop the loops. It is already proving to be that way. I am strapped in and ready to take on whatever the year throws at me.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained