Stepping up to top fitness
MOST people hate taking the stairs but one Erskine Park man actively seeks the most challenging ascents possible.
Brian Wilson, 27, not only participated in all four Stadium Stomps around Australia, but he completed the around 6000-stair events in Sydney and Brisbane twice.
“I finished one lap and thought I should do it again,” he said.
“I like the fact that it’s a kind of buzz, and everyone thinks that I’m crazy. I’m definitely not the fastest but I just keep going.”
As part of the Stadium Stomp in Sydney, participants climb up, down and around the stairs within the Sydney Cricket Ground’s stadium bays, then head next door to Allianz Stadium to do the same, before running a full lap of the SCG oval to finish.
Mr Wilson began entering fitness events as a way to lose weight and get fit, and over the last year since he started he’s lost more than 20kg.
“I decided I was going to be fit and active so I went in the City2Surf and started running. In one fun run there was lots of stairs and somehow or other I found out about the stair climb at Centrepoint and I did that two weeks later,” he said.
From there he’s run up the Eureka building and Waterfront Place building in Brisbane, and the Q1 building on the Gold Coast. He’s now in training to complete the City2Surf on Sunday and the Sydney Tower Stair Challenge on August 23, which includes 1504 steps some 309m high.
As part of every event Mr Wilson raises money for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics Australia, which assists individuals living with the severe neurological disorder.
One of his former work colleague’s sons has the condition, which is characterised by profound developmental delays. THIS Sunday, 13-year-old Connor McLeod, who was born blind, will take part in the City2Surf.
The Oakhurst resident said he wanted to do the marathon to raise money for Vision Australia, an organisation that has given him so much.
His father, David McLeod, will be his guide runner for the 14km marathon and will also ride with him in a tandem bike for the City to the Gong bike ride in November.
According to Connor, he does not have a disability, but a different ability that has been more of a motivation than a hindrance.
He has been abseiling since he was five years old, taught himself to play the drums and the keyboard and is trained in karate.
Connor’s name made headlines earlier this year when the Reserve Bank of Australia agreed to his request to create tactile bank notes to help visionimpaired people differentiate between notes.
His campaign has since been recognised by the National Braille Press in Boston, which will fly him over in November to receive the Hands On! Award.
The award recognises people who have made significant contributions to accessibility for the vision- impaired. Previous recipients of the award include author J.K. Rowling and former first lady Laura Bush. Connor will be the first Australian to receive the award.
His mother Ally Lancaster said she was devastated when she found out her fourmonth-old son had Leber congenital amaurosis.
“I cried a river,” Ms Lancaster said. “I knew nothing about blindness, vision loss or raising a blind child.”
Ms Lancaster said teaching Connor, her third child, simple things like how to crawl, turn on a tap or turn his head was a challenge.
“It was the support and dedication of Vision Australia that taught me to be the parent I always knew I could be but didn’t know how to be.” Thirteen years later, Connor said he accredits his achievements to his supportive parents.
“I suppose it’s because Mum and Dad have pushed me to try and get out there and do what I’m doing and to do the best I can,” he said.
“I want to make sure I don’t end up being the guy who doesn’t know what he is doing.”
While his aim every day is to fit in, Connor has one message for those living with a disability: “Get out there and give it a go.”