There is no other athlete in Aberdeen with an international profile as high as Kenny's. He is recognised as one of the worlds top wheelchair athletes in his category. Kenny has only been competing since 2001, but each year he has improved in all the distances that he competes in. His training regime consists of 6 days on 1 day off, 100-140 miles a week, with three days in the gym. Kenny is highly motivated and sets himself high standards; this has enabled him to rise to the top of his sport exceptionally quickly.

Kenny was a successful fitness trainer, boxer and manager when he suffered a freak motorcycle accident in July 2000 which left him paralysed from the waist down, but he was determined to regain his fitness and independence. He took up wheelchair racing in 2002 and in an amazingly short period he has risen to the top echelons of the sport, taking all Scottish records from 400m to the marathon, and the British marathon record. He has been voted Aberdeen's sportsman of the year three times.

His experiences and attitude to life have led him in to motivational speaking, visiting schools, charities and companies with a positive message about life.

Biography

  • 6 years old - hit by car, broken leg
  • 10 years - First chance to play football for team
  • 13 years - see Enter the Dragon (Bruce Lee) first time; went to my first Karate lesson
  • 15 years - dislocate left knee
  • 16 years - Leave school … start first Job
  • 17 years - get first Bike DT 250 Yamaha
  • 18 years - 650 Custom ... Crash first day, Russell on back; GS 1000 Suzuki Crash Hospital Oban; First car Ford Capri
  • 20 years - Jaguar; Joined the Parachute Reg
  • 21 years - Married; Lee born; new house
  • 22 years - single parent; Marathons, Triathlons, Boxing;

5 years in the army

  • 28 years - meet Zaks Mum; moved to the country with the family; Teaching Aerobics Schools , halls , Community centres. Van stuff
  • 29 years - Zak born; moved to Livingston Moved West calder; Got land built FFF club ..
  • 36 years - moved to Stonehaven; Teaching Fitness in clubs and dancing… GS 1000; USA for 5 weeks; New house moved from Stony; Honda CB 1000 , Kawasaki 1100 , Suzuki 1300 ...; MPV disco dancers Manager

 

Your life can change in a heartbeat.

 

26th July 2000

On 26th July 2000 a freak motorbike accident changed my life forever.

Although I was travelling at only 15 mph, a diesel spillage on the road within a mile of my Aberdeen home caused my motor bike to skid beneath me. It was surreal that although superficially unmarked by the accident, the forward flexion of my body had snapped my spinal cord and broken 3 ribs which left me paralysed from the waist down (Level T12 on the diagram).

I spent the first week being stabilised in Aberdeen Infirmary, before being airlifted to Glasgow Spinal Unit for 2 more weeks in intensive care and 3 months of gruelling rehabilitation .

I had a huge battle ahead of me . Having always been proud of my physique, I found that the accident had caused me to lose 3 stone in muscle and I had to find a way to motivate myself to get back into shape as quickly as possible. I had personal considerations, I was a single parent. Lee my teenage son lived with me I had to think of him and drive myself on to the path of recovery, so, with guidance and support from the physiotherapists, I got into a wheelchair for the first time a mere 4 weeks after the accident. I worked as hard I could to regain my strength. A determined attitude enabled me to leave hospital far earlier than expected, I regained control of my life. Rejoining my son in a new flat and at the age of 38, I began a whole new chapter in my life.

Fitness has always been a way of life for me. after 5 years in the Parachute Regiment, 4 of those as a physical training instructor, I moved into the commercial fitness industry. My then partner and I were the co- owners of a successful fitness studio in Livingston. Capitalising on the new step exercise phenomenon, and teaching classes in aerobics and boxing, the business thrived until the relationship floundered 7 years later. I had to move away and start again, leaving my young son Zak behind. My older son and I moved to Aberdeen where I had family. There I continued to teach in the fitness industry until my accident moved the goal posts forever.

8 months after my accident I was offered the opportunity to participate in the annual Spinal Games in Glasgow. Unsurprisingly, I took up the challenge I tried 8 of the sports on offer. Ironically I chose to ignore one of them - Wheelchair racing.

My first taste of road racing came in May 2001. 11 months after my accident I took part in the local 10k race, partnered by my brand new Cyclone handbike. Little did I know that road racing would soon become a way of life for me. The Scottish Wheelchair racing team were also racing. My curiosity was aroused enough to buy a second hand chair. I tried it out on the track. However, my first impressions of wheelchair racing were not good. I decided that I disliked it, yet I saw that it would be a means to regaining and then maintaining my cardiovascular fitness, a stepping stone to future sporting activities .

Friends meanwhile sought out sponsorship from local firms and organisations. The local press championed me. Suddenly money was coming in: Petrofac paid for my first custom made chair. My enthusiasm for the sport grew. Within months I had progressed far enough to be able to take part in my first Marathon, Dublin which I won 2 hrs 45 sec .

More success followed. In July 2002, racing in Thailand I first broke the Scottish Marathon record. Over the following years I was to break this record again and again until April 2005 when I achieved something far greater in Padova, Italy - I became the British Marathon record holder. My time of 1hr 28 min 13 sec which had been held for 13 years by David Holding (sorry!) Has became the new bench mark for wheelchair athletes.

My life revolves around my sport. I travel the world to train and compete with and against the elite of the fraternity. I am able to race at the highest level. 2005 alone saw me competing in places as diverse as Australia, Japan, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and throughout the USA. Domestically my racing schedule will be taking in competition in London, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle. None of this would be possible without the support of my sponsors. Their belief in me enables me to train, travel and race relatively free of financial constraints.

My current racing chair for example was purchased on my behalf by Petrofac; Draft provide me with a custom built day chair. I owe all my sponsors a huge debt of gratitude. My goal is to improve my performance and reach my as yet unfulfilled potential. I am still new to the sport and have much more to learn. I feel extremely privileged to be able to consider myself a world class athlete.

My training shedule is punishing and, as a self- coached athlete, the
motivati
on to push my body to its limits has to come from within. I cover up to 120 miles a week plus gym work. Of course being paralysed I am also having to deal with so many other issues. Life can be exhausting and extremely frustrating.

Yet things couldn't be going any better for me. I have never been so content. The generosity of my sponsors enables me to travel the world. But the downside to this is that my sport is hugely time consuming. I spend a lot of time away from home this takes me away from people who I love dearly and are important

to me. I to see my two sons Lee and Zak as often as I can.

I am often invited to speak to local businessmen, schoolchildren and of course, groups who work for the disabled. I present motivational talks to these people. I share my experiences, the highs and the lows of my life. Demonstra

 

te how I have never allowed my disability to be a barrier to sporting achievement. I hope that I inspire others to maximise their own potential. My ethos in life is that nothing slows you down more than negativity.

None of this would be possible without the help and generosity of many people. I'd especially like to say a huge thank you to Elaine Mair - she was there from day one right through Hospital and helped me on my way to successes as a wheelchair athlete. A motivator and an inspiration.

Bad things happen to everybody - its how you handle them that makes you

 

different.

 

 

Clock Tower Race

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