My name is Kyrby Brown, I was lucky enough to be supported by the Be More Bailey Foundation in early 2020 when I applied for funding for my very own Running Frame – now fondly referred to as Rex. I was born with a congenital condition called Arthrogryposis, which effectively means that my joints are curved. As a result I have severely limited range of movement in all four limbs and need support in my day to day life Today I consider myself a para sport enthusiast, taking part in Frame Running, Triathlon Events, Para Dressage and even Sailing. I now work as the Adaptive Sports Development Officer for Quest, some of you may have met me during Running Frame and Trike assessments. Prior to this, I was on the Team GB Development Squads for Para Dressage for two years, something that I’m still incredibly proud of and has helped me to develop my knowledge and understanding of disability sport and leisure as a whole.
However, my relationship with sport has not always been straightforward, in secondary school I had real difficulty with PE class, I hated being encouraged to take part in sports such as Cricket and Netball when I was well aware that they did not play to my strengths! This led to me absolutely dreading PE sessions resenting my teachers and developing a negative attitude towards all physical activity. I have always been an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person, and if I was going to take part, I wanted to be able to give it my all.
Looking back, it was my interest in horses that led to a total rethink on this matter, I went to Writtle College and completed a degree in Equine Studies. I found that I enjoyed the technical aspects of training the horses and this spurred an interest in Biomechanics. I found it fascinating that learning how to refine my body’s movements and posture helped me have a greater understanding of my body’s mechanics, and therefore produce better results on the horse. I could suddenly train in order to strengthen weak areas and improve movement in the areas that were tight or stiff. I realised that, whilst I can’t control my disability, I could control my physical ability within it, true fitness was not an impossibility for me.
It was this curiosity and experimentation (alongside a fair helping of stubborn determination) that led me to find Frame Running and to where I am today. Through sport I have been empowered to take control of my health, my fitness and my life. Moreover, I now have the opportunity to help others do the same. Sports as leisure is something that appears to be widely overlooked in the world of disability, not everyone will be a Paralympian, but we can all enjoy exercise and movement. Even better – We can get so much enjoyment out of it, I can take my Running Frame anywhere and exercise in the great outdoors, I can leave my wheelchair at home and explore on my own two feet. The physical benefits for me have been dramatic, I am now physically fit and can run for some distance (20km is my current PB!). I am even looking at taking part in the London Marathon in the future, something that would have been completely impossible without Rex.
Disability sport is not about Gold Medals and World Records, it is about pushing yourself to reach your goals and having fun along the way. It’s about experiencing the world in as many ways as possible and sharing those experiences with those closest to you. It remains an important tool in bridging the equality gap for those with challenges, when I am in my frame I am an athlete, my disability is secondary – how it should be.