Just over a week after abseiling off Fanad Lighthouse, Nikki Bradley has set her sights on another challenge.
The 29-year-old from Letterkenny is in training to set a new Guinness World Record as the fastest woman on earth to complete a 5k on crutches.
When she was 16, Nikki was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, and she’s already had two hip replacements.
Two years ago, when she learned that she would be on crutches permanently, Nikki founded Fighting Fit for Ewing’s. She’s undertaking a series of challenges to highlight the importance of exercise for rehabilitation because, she says, it’s exercise that allowed her to stop taking pain medication.
Nikki’s aiming to break the world record before September 22nd. On that day, she’s meeting consultants in Birmingham to find out whether she needs surgery on her right hip. Surgery would, of course, put her out of commission for months.
With typical determination, Nikki’s not put off by this and remains upbeat about her training. “I am excited to get stuck in. I have been on crutches for many years so, in a way, I have been training for this for a long time without knowing it!”
She has reason to be confident, given that she has already broken the record, albeit unofficially. On May 9th, she ran 5k in 44:19, beating the current record by 15 minutes and 11 seconds. This time, she wants to finish in 40-41 minutes.
It’s a big ask, she acknowledges, “I would love to shave a few minutes off my original time but it will be hard to keep the pace going as my shoulders and hands will likely become tired and stiff. The rewards will outweigh the pain!”
Meanwhile Nikki’s pounding the pavement at the Aura Leisure Centre, Letterkenny, where she’s been given use of the track for training.
On August 12th, Nikki completed her “most terrifying yet exhilarating” challenge yet when she abseiled off Fanad Lighthouse, under the guidance of Iain Miller of uniqueascent.ie.
She recalls, “When I climbed out over the railing and looked down, my heart somersaulted in my chest. Trusting the rope enough to step out over the edge was the hardest part but, once I did it, my adrenaline kicked in. I did it three times and would have done it more if I could.”
Learn more at www.nikkibradleyspeaks.com.