On the 6th August 2016 my life changed forever. Whilst rock climbing in North Wales, I was involved in a serious fall which would leave me with a life-changing injury. As I climbed a 120ft (36m) exposed rockface, it wasn’t until I stood just 30ft (10m) below the summit that my world would turn upside down. With a section of rock unexpectedly shifting below my feet, I was sent tumbling uncontrollably toward my climbing partner below. The injury I sustained would leave me instantly paralysed from the chest down and with a severe spinal cord injury. I had been incredibly lucky to survive. Yet, as I was prepared for aerial extraction by the Mountain Rescue, I made an important and life-changing commitment to myself. I wouldn’t be beaten.
The 6th August 2016 marked the start of a new and challenging chapter in my life. What followed my accident was an arduous five-month journey through intensive care, surgery, and rehabilitation. Whilst I was able to come to terms with the events of that day, it would be accepting the limitations and implications of my disability that would require genuine grit and resilience.
Forever conscious of the commitment I made to myself on the day of my accident, I have pushed myself at each stage of my rehabilitation to come back stronger and to prove what can be achieved by someone with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and disability. Adventure has very much been at the heart of my recovery. Since first dreaming of learning to kayak as a way in which I could continue to explore the great outdoors, I have gone on to train as part of Great Britain’s Paracanoe Team, to pioneer adaptive freediving in the UK, and in 2021, to become the first disabled person to kayak from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’ Groats in Scotland – a distance of over 1,400 kilometres.
I have refused to let the word disability define who I am as a person and am committed to helping challenge the perception of what those with a disability can achieve
World Marathon Challenge 2022
In October 2022, Darren will attempt to become the first disabled person to complete the iconic challenge of running seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents. Referred to as the World Marathon Challenge, more people have stood on the summit of Everest than have completed this gruelling logistical, physical and psychological test.
With the first marathon taking place at Camp Novo in Antarctica, and with the fourth taking place in Dubai, Darren will be subject to both extremes of temperature as well as the challenge of running marathons in these temperatures.
The order of marathons is as follows: Camp Novo (Antarctica); Cape Town (Africa); Perth (Australia); Dubai (Asia); Madrid (Europe); Fortaleza (South America); Miami (North America).