One man, one arm, one mission
One man, one arm, one mission

Despite losing his arm 10 years ago, one Kent man hasn’t been stopped from completing marathons.

John Allen, 46, from Gillingham lost his arm 10 years ago in a motorcycle accident, but that hasn’t stopped him from keeping fit.

He has done many races including 14 marathons and is taking part in this weekend’s Island Run on the Isle of Sheppey. He has completed many marathons including Beachy Head, Bewl Water and the Brighton Marathon twice.

Despite losing his arm, John runs regularly and explained how he keeps fit and what inspired him to take up running: “In 2014/2015 I lost a lot of weight. I didn’t want to put it all back on again.”

“My friend did Couch to 5k. I decided to try it and found I really enjoyed it.”

“I came across Rebel Runners while walking down the Great Lines on a Saturday morning. I looked them up on Facebook and liked the sound of it, so I went on a couple of runs with them, and then I joined the club.”

“I started running with a group of Rebel Runners and two were training for a marathon. I’d done a lot of marathon training, even though I hadn’t entered one. I then entered a six hour trail challenge at Ranscombe Farm with a group of Rebel Runners.”

“I had the support from three Rebels to finish, Bianca Pearce, Sam Brown and Jimi Hendricks, and I ended up running a marathon distance.”

“Spurred on by this, I foolishly entered the Bewl Water marathon the following month.”

“I like running because it keeps me fit. When I run alone, I enjoy the solitude and have plenty of time to think. I have also made a large circle of new friends through running.”

Getting injured whilst running goes with the territory, and John explained how having just the one arm has its’ own issues:

“I’ve had a couple of injuries while running, including a knee injury caused by damage to my back as a result of the motorcycle accident when I lost my right arm.”

“I also fell over on a trail run and broke two ribs and stupidly ran a marathon three weeks later.”

Most runners have their favourite runs and John is no different, telling Kent Sports News:

“My favourite race is the Beachy Head Marathon because it’s a scenic run between the South Downs and Seven Sisters. It’s a very sociable event and there is no pressure on getting a fast time.”

“My least favourite race is the London 10k because there were far too many people and the course was very busy.”

Proving to be a real inspiration to those with disabilities, John has shown that no matter what life throws at you, there is always a chance to be active.

Having run now for a few years, John insists others should do the same and can be inexpensive if you join your local parkrun or running club:

“Running can be a cheap sport if you go out and run socially. However, if you enter lots of races it can get very expensive.”

“I think running has many benefits to general fitness and mental health, so I’d recommend running to people trying to get fit.”

“I have achieved things that I never thought possible three years ago.”