My hip condition resulted from a hit and run accident In 1982 when I was walking up a country lane near Ewhurst, Surrey with a group of work colleagues whilst on a training course. The Police caught the culprit and he admitted swerving In, but only to scare us, he apparently miscalculated. The girl in front saw what was happening and jumped out the way, I didn’t!
For those of you that remember the opening of the TV Comedy Porridge when the judges sentences Norman Stanley Fletcher, I hear Howard Spencer Grout, although this wasn’t funny. He has probably long since forgotten his paltry fine and ban and will be oblivious to the problems he has caused me.
His car hit my left knee causing a trauma in the hip joint, resulting in the blood supply being cut off to the top of my hip and over time the bone started to crumble. A year or so after the accident I started to have problems until I could not walk without pain and was put on crutches for over a year while I waited for an operation. Being too young for a hip replacement, I was given an osteotomy (chopped off the ball, turned it upside down and stuck it back on) and told it should last 10 years. It was as successful as It could have been, I could walk again albeit with a limp, but generally without pain and sport was restricted to swimming, but the surgeon, Professor Heatley, did such a good job it lasted 19 years until 2005 when I was offered a new hip.
8 weeks after the op I handed back the crutches asking the consultant what I would be able to do sport wise and was amazed when he gave the ok for playing 5 a side football, saying I would know when the body was ready.
Less positive was my request to the hospital physio as to how to go about stretching tendons, ligaments and muscles that for 19 years had not been able to move backwards because of the restricted movement of my left hip. Don’t waste your time were not his exact words, but summed up the message. But the doctor had said I could play football, so I started to do stretches virtually every day and it was a couple of years after the op that I joined in a kick around whilst on holiday.
From there (needing some mates to play with), I looked to the dads of my son’s football team, Worthing Town and we started a regular Monday night session. So I had achieved the aim of playing football, but the competitive instinct kicked in and I started running to get fitter. Then in 2009 I received a request to participate in a 60 mile charity bike ride and despite not having been on a bike for 20 odd years, borrowed a bike and gave it a go. In the back of my mind I had always fancied having a go at a triathlon and this was the final part of the jigsaw. After a few sessions on the bike, I realised I enjoyed it, did the 60 mile ride and decided to enter a triathlon – at first the Olympic distance, progressing to half Ironman and then a full Ironman. I then needed another challenge, so I thought why not have a go at the English Channel.