Para dressage rider Kyrby Brown thanks the NHS with 28 miles on racerunner around lanes of Sawbridgeworth
Locked-down Team GB equestrian hopeful Kyrby Brown turned her frustration at not being able to train into something positive – she took part in the 2.6 Challenge and raised more than £1,000.
The 24-year-old para dressage rider – who had to move back from her home in South Wales, where she trains, to her parents’ house in Sawbridgeworth – decided to do 2.6 miles a day for 10 days on a racerunner bike.
The 2.6 Challenge was launched by London Marathon organisers after the event, due to be held on April 26, was cancelled. Kyrby set a target for her challenge of £500 to go to the NHS Charities Together appeal and was delighted to raise more than double that, with a total of £1,125.
“I can’t train as my horses are based in Hereford, but I do racerunning to keep fit so I thought I might as well do something useful,” said Kyrby, who said she has a complex disability. She is a part-time wheelchair user as she has arthrogryposis, which means she has curved joints.
“I’ve never done anything for the NHS, but I owe a lot to our health service,” she said. “I wouldn’t have the amazing quality of life I have without the NHS and the social services that we are so lucky to have.”
Her route was a loop from her parents’ home in Parsonage Lane to Allens Green. She was joined by her brother Joseph, 14, and sister Millie, 12, who ran and cycled the route.
In the end Kyrby smashed her target, completing 28.6 miles just in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
The racerunner bike, which was sent to her by Racerunning Dragons in Cardiff, has a three-wheeled frame with a saddle, body support and no pedals.
“It’s a cross between a trike and a walking frame,” she said. “It’s fine until you hit a hill – it’s quite challenging up a hill.”
She said she discovered racerunning just before Christmas and her physical and mental health have “benefited exponentially”.
She added: “I was planning on doing my first triathlon in May and was taking the racerunner to Copenhagen in July to compete for Wales in the Racerunning Cup. Obviously that's not going to happen now, but I feel there’s something I can do to help so I should.”
Although dressage riding is her passion and a full-time pursuit, Kyrby has plans to set up a racerunning centre.
“It’s such a good sport for people with joint problems and it’s just been given a slot in the 2024 Paris Paralympics,” she said.
The 2.6 Challenge has been taken up by thousands of people in the UK and so far has raised more than £10m for charities which would have otherwise missed out on money raised through the London Marathon.