A WOMAN with cerebral palsy who is aiming to become the first female frame runner to complete the London Marathon said using the device has been “life-changing”.

Dr Julie McElroy, 38, from Glasgow, was introduced to frame running around three years ago after suffering a traumatic injury and since then has taken on numerous challenges, including the Paisley 10K and the 22.6-mile Glasgow Kiltwalk.

A frame runner is a three-wheeled frame where the athlete is supported by a saddle and body plate and uses their feet to pedal.

On deciding to undertake the London Marathon, Dr McElroy, who is based in Glasgow, said: “My goodness, I didn’t really know what was ahead of me.”

She said using the frame runner has been “a dream” after suffering a traumatic injury that left her in chronic pain and using a wheelchair.

The National: Dr Julie McElroy with her coach Gordon InnesDr Julie McElroy with her coach Gordon Innes (Image: Images taken from PA)

“I thought my life was over six years ago when I suffered a traumatic accident where I ruptured my groin muscle,” she explained.

“I thought I was going to be housebound. I thought I was going to be in chronic pain. My body was on fire constantly. I couldn’t get a decent night’s sleep and I was on all these different medications.”

Having always been a physically active person who enjoyed hiking, swimming and cycling, she was eager to begin exercising again three years ago after her injury.

“I was looking at what sport I could do because I couldn’t swim again. I couldn’t use my two-wheeler bike, so I was looking for another adaptive sport,” she said.

She first started doing track distances before undertaking park runs, 10km runs and half marathons.

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“Framing has given me the confidence to get out of my wheelchair and build up strength in my legs and be able to walk again.”

“It’s been a game changer. It’s been life-changing so far.”

Dr McElroy is excited about taking on the London Marathon on April 21 but did not imagine she would be taking on such a challenge when she first started using her frame runner.

“I just thought I’d keep myself fit and that’s it and literally years later I’ve gotten myself into the London Marathon and I’m thinking, oh my goodness, what have I taken on?” she said.

“Frame running is a brand new sport and I think some people will be captivated when they see it in the London Marathon. I can’t wait to see people reacting to it when I come to London.”

The National:

Dr McElroy started training for the marathon in November and said: “I’m training almost every single day at the moment.”

“I’ve been out in minus six conditions. It’s been cold, it’s been raining. I find the training quite lonely at times because I’m on that track day after day on my own.

“The longest I’ve been on that track at Victoria Park Athletics Club is three hours 20 minutes. That’s quite a lonely process but the reason that I’ve got by is probably my mentality, my motivation. I’ve always had that tenacity, people have always said that.”

Beyond keeping fit, Dr McElroy said frame running has given her greater freedom and more opportunities.

“Frame running has given me that freedom to engage with my friends and peers,” she said.

“I don’t want to be treated any differently. I want to be able to adapt to every situation and I want to be able to embrace the same opportunities and experiences as my peers.”

Dr McElroy is raising funds for the Richard Whitehead Foundation, which was founded by British athlete Richard Whitehead MBE who runs with prosthetic legs.