Ultra runner marks return to health with global win

A broken back failed to deter a Royal Air Force ultra-runner whose road to recovery ended with first place in an international long-distance race.

Flight Sergeant Michael Taylor notched up a staggering 69.9km (43.4 miles) in four hours 12 minutes to become the Wings for Life 2020 Global Champion.

Flight Sergeant Michael Taylor running in the Wings for Life long-distance race FS Taylor competing in the Wings for Life long-distance race.

Data analyst FS Taylor, 38, who damaged his spine in a 2016 cycling accident, is the first Briton to win the prestigious charity event organised to raise funds for research into spinal cord injuries.

The race, which is usually run simultaneously at venues around the world, was turned into a ‘man versus app’ affair as thousands of competitors tried to stay ahead of a virtual car.

FS Taylor said:

“If the car caught up with a competitor, they were out. As time went on friends from my running club and the neighbours knew I was close to winning, so the support was wonderful.”

FS Taylor went ahead with the race after getting his community’s approval and stuck to social distancing rules to run the quiet backstreets of his hometown of St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

FS Taylor pictured with his race number after running 43.4 miles FS Taylor pictured with his race number after running 43.4 miles.

Minutes after finishing he notched up another first – a congratulatory call from Wings for Life sports director Colin Jackson CBE, the Olympic silver medallist and world champion 110m hurdler.

“The race is a fantastic concept which the Covid-19 lockdown failed to snuff out when it was adapted to be run using an app,” added FS Taylor.

FS Taylor, whose usual weekly training run is a 20-mile outing, also holds the record for the RAF’s fastest ever Iron Man, the international long-distance triathlon.

He puts his return to fitness after his accident down to the professionalism of RAF health carers and physical training instructors.

Anyone wanting to donate to the Wings For Life charity can do so at the Wings for Life website

Source: RAF

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