Former Olympian Colin Jackson Raises Awareness About Spinal Cord Injuries
Former Olympic silver medalist Colin Jackson hopes to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries as he plays a crucial role in making a charity run happen.
Jackson, who finished second in the 110m hurdles at the 1998 Seol Olympics, will compete in the Wings for Life World Run on Saturday May 8 at noon.
The race, which can be done anywhere using the app, sees 100% of proceeds from each entry go directly to the non-profit Wings for Life spinal cord research foundation.
Colin spoke to Extra.ie about the importance of running and why research is essential to help people with spinal cord injury find a cure.
“The fact that anyone, at any stage of their life, can have a spinal cord injury with very little money invested in research, took my breath away. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t funding this stuff so much.
“It can happen to anyone, at any stage of the planet. It’s not like extreme sports give you a spinal cord injury, most of them are road accidents and how many of us hit the road every day? It’s crazy when you think about it.
“When this story is told to you in such a graphic way. You think, well, if I could help someone who’s already sitting in a chair find a cure to get them out of the chair, that’s what I would do,” he said.
Urging the public to take part in the race, sponsored by Red Bull, and celebrate what they “are going to do”, Colin revealed that experts had told him that it was not impossible to cure the severe lesions of the spinal cord.
He explained: ‘When I talk to scientists about funds to do their research, they always say ‘we will find a cure’. Not a single one of them says “it just won’t happen”.
“When you’re there on May 8, you’re trying to find a cure for spinal cord injury. That must be the definition of finding that “I’m doing something good” feeling.
Colin will serve as the Global Race Controller in Austria to ensure the event goes off without a hitch. Joking that he would cover ‘6 or 7k just by dashing around the place’, Colin gave some advice on how to get off the couch and run.
“I just try to keep things as normal as possible, even when it comes to race day. Don’t go out of your norm because that will put your body in ‘oh what’s going on’ mode. .
‘Get as much research and knowledge as possible. Take advice from people who have done it before, there is a huge community of runners out there who want to help you. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes and stay well hydrated.
‘The most important thing is to go to the toilet. You are going to be there for at least 45 minutes and you could be there for an hour and a half. Be sure to go to the toilet before you do! In the end, make sure you enjoy it,” he said.
Reassuring the audience that even Olympic medalists need to find motivation once in a while, Colin delivered a powerful message on why running is so important.
‘There is this overriding rule in life, “why am I doing this?”. If your reason for getting out of bed is more powerful than a Chinese takeout, you always will. For yourself or for any cause, remember that you are not only helping our cause, but you are also contributing to your personal life.
“There is nothing in life that you benefit from 100%, but you will benefit from getting out, going out and running. Don’t shy away from the challenge and don’t be intimidated. You will succeed and you will finish,” he said.
To find out more about the event and how you can participate, go to wingsforliferun.com.