Ben Barnard – Strider Story

Whilst playing football when I was 32 I sustained a head injury which resulted in a brain scan. I retired and started running on my own.

Seven years ago, on my daughter’s first birthday (8th Jan), I was blue lighted to hospital. I was told that I should phone my parents and if I had children I should talk to them; if I made it through the night the antibiotics had worked. After isolation for nine days I was discharged after having bacterial meningitis. I could not see properly out of my left eye, dropped things with my left hand, had nerve damage to my right leg and had memory problems.

I decided to try and run; after managing to build from walks around the house up to walks around the village, I then went onto jogging (throwing up initially) to jog/walk, to run. The joy of being out and feeling alive kept me going. I built on this.

Three years ago (despite being told it would never happen again) I was admitted with bacterial meningitis again. 14 days of isolation later I was discharged and started the whole process again.
My involvement with Fernwood RC and then Striders (for the past two years) have kept me loving life. Despite constant injuries, tiredness and other reminders of meningitis, I’m inspired by the people I find myself surrounded by at our club. I run for myself, to prove I still can, I turn up as the people I meet make it worth it on a crappy, wet, cold, windy night.

My favourite running memories are running with my old dog Scooby through woods, coastal runs I take when on family holidays, and the next run I haven’t done yet.

Favourite shoes: Any that haven’t caused me a calf injury! (Secretly my dancing shoes!)