An inspirational athlete who is hoping for European glory, is using triathlon to help her cope with the painful effects of Parkinson’s Disease.
Remarkable Ruth Wilson was diagnosed with the devastating and debilitating disease around three years ago.
But rather than sit back and let the neurological condition slow her down, the 45-year-old decided to train in triathlon in a bid to combat the pains and tremors she experienced on a daily basis.
And now the Isle athlete is training hard for the Duathlon Championships which take place in October and act as a qualifier for European glory next year.
“As soon as I was diagnosed, I just thought ‘I need to do something to take my mind off of it’,” said Wilson, of High Street in Wroot.
“I didn’t just want to sit back.
“I wanted to prove to everybody that I could succeed despite Parkinson’s and that it wasn’t going to hold me back in life.
“I wanted to get out and do something.
“I’d always been interested in running.
“I’d always enjoyed it so then I decided to take that further even though I was advised to stop.
“My father had Parkinson’s too and he was a keen marathon runner so I looked more into those kind of sports and triathlon appealed to me.
“Once I started doing that, I just wanted to get better and better.
“With Parkinson’s, I do suffer from slight tremors and it is quite painful.
“But with the freedom that triathlon gives you, it really occupies my mind and takes me away from the feelings that Parkinson’s can give me.
“I get nervous when I’m on the start line and that can make my Parkinson’s worse, but I have managed to get it under control when I set-off.
“I know triathlon is not the easiest of sports by any stretch but I’ve loved learning about the sport and I’m progressing well despite being quite new to it.”
The Tesco staff member started working with Doncaster-based Blizard Physiotherapy and has teamed up with coach Kevin Dawson and fellow athlete Dave Tune.
Since then, Wilson has most notably competed in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain where she finished fourth and just missed out on a podium spot. She also clinched sixth in Holland’s European Duathlon Championships.
That particular Dutch triumph was only a week after suffering from a bad fall from an East Riding race where the former Lincsquad member still, incredibly, managed to claim second place.
The race ace, who is currently not signed to a club, will also be taking part in an Australian competition in 2015 after her strong performances led to automatic qualification for the event.
“I was pretty happy with my Holland finish because I’d lost a lot of confidence on the bike following my fall a week before,” Wilson told the Bells.
“I was gutted to just miss the podium in the World Championships to be honest.
“But I’m new to the sport and and happy with the chance to prove myself at the Australia event in Adelaide next year.
“Everything is coming on fantastically well, particularly thanks to the guidance I receive from Kevin Dawson and Dave Tune.
“If it were not for those two, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I can. Their help has been phenomenal.”
Wilson has recently competed in the Rother Valley Tri Festival which was also a qualifier for the 2014 ITU World Championships Sprint Distance Triathlon and 2015 ETU European Championships Sprint Distance Triathlon.
And despite getting out of the water at the back of the pack during the 750m swim, 25.4km cycle and 5km run event, Wilson raced ahead to finish comfortably in second place in her F45-49 age group with a time of 1:28:34.
She added: “I’m still learning the sport and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come.”