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My Journey to London Landmarks Half Marathon 2024

by Roxana D

I can say that I am a person who, regardless of the difficulties encountered, has never been defeated. However, as a wheelchair user, I understand that participating in a marathon, or even a half marathon, presents both a significant challenge and an opportunity to demonstrate resilience and determination.

When the world says ‘give up’, my heart whispers ‘try again’. 

When I learned about the London Landmarks Half Marathon, I knew it was an opportunity not to be missed. However, what many don’t know is that for nearly 14 years, since a car accident in Italy left me completely paralyzed from the chest down, I had never run with my wheelchair. Despite being a professional athlete and competing in several para-cycling races with my handbike, including a remarkable event in the USA organized by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Now, let’s return to the streets of London and the marathon that ignited my spirit.

London Marathon 2024

It wasn’t until September 2023, when I was invited by Alison Standbridge to participate in this marathon, that I dared to venture outdoors alone with my manual wheelchair to run a few kilometers without any assistance. During this period, I discovered the joy of running several kilometers multiple times a week, despite occasional setbacks due to elbow pains.

With every challenge, I uncover new strengths. My wheels may roll, but my spirit soars, propelling me toward victory.

As the marathon day approached, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions—joy, anticipation, and a touch of apprehension. Despite my fear of failure, with each step taken at the starting line, these emotions transformed into unwavering determination to cross the finish line.

Throughout the race, the support of both spectators and fellow participants fuelled my motivation to persevere. Their encouragement, especially during uphill stretches, bolstered my resolve to not give up. I know now I couldn’t have done it without my teammate Cefn O’Ryan, the local London runners’ support and their fantastic cheers of encouragement. Thank you all!

May my journey inspire others to break barriers and pursue their dreams.

And, let’s not forget about my greatest help—the trackwheel. I would not have had such a great time without its assistance.

London Marathon 2024

What did this day give me more? Fun. Fulfilment. Faith in my abilities. Courage to dare for more. Confidence. Friendship. Support. Experiencing something new and visiting a truly wonderful place.

Life’s like a marathon – it’s about facing challenges head-on and celebrating every win, big or small. So, let’s keep pushing forward, one step at a time, and make every moment count.

There are countless reasons that drive people to push their limits, and for me, one of these was realising the impact my participation would have on the lives of Romanian dogs. So, I encourage you to browse the Paws2Rescue website and offer your assistance. With your support, I hope to tackle the marathon again next year. May you join me as well! 😃