Simon Wheatcroft: The Power of Pushing Through
Simon Wheatcroft held his audience spellbound at the Global Genes conference in California where he detailed his journey from losing his sight as a teen-ager due to retinitis pigmentosa to competing in ultramarathons and overcoming many obstacles in between.
Simon recounted his amazing life experience at the Hotel Irvine in Huntington Beach, Calif., during the 6th Annual Global Genes RARE Patient Advocacy Summit on Sept. 14 and 15. More than 700 patients, caregivers, advocates and rare disease stakeholders gathered to share, learn and connect.
Simon, the conference’s opening keynote speaker, shared his journey of adapting technology, specifically on his smartphone, to achieve what seemed like impossible personal goals of learning to run solo outdoors. In his message of “Adaptability in the Face of Adversity,” Simon said he lost his sight at 17 due to retinitis pigmentosa, and seven months later, he ran his first ever race – a 100-mile road race.
Ultramarathons – races more than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon – present extreme physical and mental challenges for anyone, but with his loss of vision, Simon faces more complex obstacles. He trains with guide runners and uses memorization and technology.
To run solo, Simon forms a map of the area by using the smartphone app, RunKeeper. He memorizes the
course and applies course feedback from the app about his pace and distance. Now, with so much experience running solo, he has adapted to various courses and uses the app less often.
Simon, who is 35, said he believes his feelings of freedom and independence from running solo “far outweigh any anxiety over dangers. My successful footsteps must be something like 99.999%, and there’s just that one every now and again that goes wrong. I try to concentrate on the millions that go right rather than the 10 or 15 that go wrong.”
Simon taught all of us at this exceptional conference the power of pushing through and endurance, lessons that can help all of us in overcoming any adversity.
For more on Simon, click here.