This Girl Thought She Couldn’t… But #ThisGirlCan

Total warrior

“Hey Lou do you fancy doing the Total Warrior with us?” “What me?” “haha, no way the name its self tells me it will be way too difficult for me to do”. “Don’t worry we’ll have few training sessions, and it’s not until June so we’ve got a good 8 weeks to prepare, it will be a team effort” said my colleague Neil. “Yeh come on Lou we’re a team!” said another colleague Sam.


That little voice in my head started chirping up, “you’ll let the team down, you won’t be able to get all the way round the course, and you’ll be the office joke…


As a member of the Active Leeds team and lead officer for Leeds Girls Can. It is my role to promote and educate the benefits of physical activity to people in the community. My aim is to provide opportunities for people who are inactive  (not taking part in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a week). I felt it only my duty to practice what I preach and step outside of my comfort zone and take this challenge on with an ‘I can do this attitude’.


So a couple of days later my colleague Rich, sent us all a link to the Total Warrior course and the 30 challenging obstacles over the 12km distance. It looked both exciting and scary all at the same time. As I viewed obstacles such as the ‘Worm Muncher’ – 50 feet of mud that we would crawl through with only 1 foot of space between the floor and the barbed wire. ‘Peaks of Pain’ – a 15 foot wall that we had to get up and over using a 4 foot rope. OMG! What had I got myself into?


I took full advantage of the ad hoc runs sessions with my colleagues, I was always the one lagging behind, “get used to this guys”, I’d say.


The best training session was 3 days before the big day, it was a gorgeous sunny day and Ross or Neil led the run – they couldn’t decide between them who was leading! The plan was to run a few kilometres and then someone would suggest 10 different exercise reps.  So after a Burpees and press ups, it was my turn to suggest an exercise; “let’s roll down the hill, like you did when you were a child”, “no way, that’s not an exercise!” “Come on …I took part in your challenges” I whined. A few rolls and dizzy spells later and everyone was laughing and joking. Hay fever attacked a few, but the whole session had definitely shown we had team spirit!


Saturday 25th June arrived. I was taped up like a real athlete. We all wore blue t-shirts – “Blue Army” – the race numbers were pinned to our fronts and our head bands were slapped onto our heads. We were tattooed up total warrior style, and we were in character from beginning to end.


It was an amazing experience, squelching through the mud up to my waist, slipping and sliding, giggling all the way through. The day was filled with wading through water, climbing up walls sliding down hills… I took on challenges that I had never faced before and conquered them with a smile on my face.


Team Active UTD – “Blue Army” – started at the back of the last wave and arrived over the finish line 2hrs 35 minutes, hand in hand, chanting “Blue Army” – we finished 154th. We downed our free can of ice cold beer, danced along to the event music, while the heat of the sun dried our mud packed bodies. Then it was on to the next team event, a few cheeky cocktails and a meal in Chapel Allerton to round off an amazing day.


Total Warrior sounds like the hardest course to take on, but with a bit of self-belief, support from my colleagues and friends, it was possible. We are already trying to decide what our next team challenge will be. I overcame this challenge, and if I can, you can too!



Synchronised Swimming Success for City of Leeds!

The City of Leeds Synchronised Swimming team enjoyed great success at the Swim England National Synchronised Swimming Championships in April, winning a grand total of seven medals!


Sarah Speers, Leeds Synchronised Swimming Development Coach, tells us a bit more about the excitement and achievement of the day…

“We have had our sights firmly on the British Championships for the past 12 months. At last year’s competition the club made the podium in Tech Team, Figures and Free solo. These were the best results the club had ever had – medalling in a team event was a first, and so the annual plan 2016-17 focused on taking this success further.

When we went to Budapest to compete in November, we swam the routines we would be entering at Champs, knowing that practicing these at competition is crucial for feedback and to make improvements. The swimmers worked really hard on camps in the holidays to bring the teams together and improve the execution and scores, and have benefitted from psychology workshops to prepare, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University.

Medalling in every event entered was an amazing achievement. After improving in the combination team by 6 whole marks from last year, and medalling for the first time in this event, we knew we had done the preparation required, and the scores and medals kept coming in! Two of the swimmers (Rebecca Richardson & Millicent Costello) are now working towards international competitions with the England Talent Squad.”

The medal results in order of the competition were:

Bronze- Junior Figures – Rebecca Richardson

Silver – Technical Solo – Rebecca Richardson

Bronze – Combination Team

Bronze – Free Solo – Rebecca Richardson

Bronze – Technical Team

Silver – Free Duet – Rebecca Richardson and Millicent Costello

Bronze – Free Team

City of Leeds was represented by: Jessica Arnold, Rosie Barrington, Samantha Breen, Olivia Burton, Bethany Caudwell, Millicent Costello, Isobel Davies, Georgia Fielding, Ellie Jefferson, Chloe McLelland, Rebecca Richardson and Alyssa Ward.

Leeds Disability Sport News – February 2017

Please see below for the latest disability sport news this month in Leeds and beyond:

  • Leeds Sports Awards tickets are still available, with discounted Leeds Sports Club member tickets also for sale. The event is taking place at the First Direct Arena on Tuesday 7th March 2017.
  • DSY Annual Awards Dinner will be held at The Centenary Pavilion, Elland Rd on Friday 24th March 2017. The price of the event- a celebration of disability sporting achievement, participation and volunteering- remains £30 per person, to include four course meal, speeches, entertainment and raffle. Nominations have now closed but tickets still available.
  • FA Grow the Game Funding is available to apply for from now until Wednesday 29th March 2017. The following types of football teams are eligible for a grant: Male teams – Under-14s to adult, Female teams – Under-7s to adult and Disability teams.
  • Wheelchair Tennis CPD is taking place in Leeds at the John Charles Centre for Sport (Tennis Centre) on the 24th April 2017. This is aimed at accredited level 2 and above coaches who would like to develop their skills to work more effectively with wheelchair tennis players.
  • Visually Impaired and Blind football training sessions are being delivered at the John Charles Centre for Sport regularly in conjunction with the Leeds United Foundation. For details of the next sessions please contact:

Middleton Park Duathlon Results

Well done to everyone who took part in the Middleton Park Duathlon on Saturday 28th January 2017. Race results are below.

Kid’s Race Results

 Position Number Name Time
1 8 Theo Jacques 30:57
2 3 Luke Rough 31:22
3 17 Max Metcalfe 33:29
4 18 Phoebe Taylor 34:20
5 7 Matilda Jacques 34:49
6 2 George Higgins 35:48
7 1 Elissa Kite 36:01
8 16 Tom Metcalfe 36:17
9 9 Angus Taylor 36:24
10 10 Theon Hercules 36:42
11 12 Atlanta Hercules 36:44
12 6 Sophia Millner 37:37
13 11 Harrison Delaia 37:50
14 15 Harry Wainwright 38:03
15 13 Breana Hercules 38:04
16 5 Rosa McAnulla 38:41
17 14 Olivia Lord 39:28
4   Mason Green DNF

Adult’s Race Results

 Position Number Name Time
1 3 Michael Kershaw 30:57
2 5 Martin Brook 31:22
3 4 Steven Lawson 33:29
4 19 Simon Boardman 34:20
5 17 Michael Melia 34:49
6 23 Tim Driver 35:48
7 40 Paul Bennet 36:01
8 13 Laura Watson 36:17
9 1 William McGawley 36:24
10 22 Matt Wilkinson 36:42
11 27 Dan Harrison 36:44
12 26 Haden Harrison 37:37
13 25 Mathew Higgins 37:50
14 14 John Gallager 38:03
15 29 Laura Fitzgerald 38:04
16 21 Jonathan Kite 38:41
17 15 Jacob Thompson 39:28
18 18 Karen Boardman 39:47
19 38 Sarah Jacques 39:54
20 20 Lyn Metcalfe 40:31
21 16 Emma Young 40:32
22 35 Graham Hordon 41:10
23 12 Colin Rendar 42:47
24 34 Joanne Hordon 42:50
25 43 Paul Hollings 42:51
26 11 Raplh McDermott 43:03
27 2 David Ianson 43:10
28 32 Libby Clark 43:19
29 33 Ben Clark 43:19
30 8 Andrew Fallows 47:17
31 41 Fiona Taylor 48:46
32 39 Gavin Hurcules 48:47
33 10 Suzana Wattons 49:00
34 37 Hanna Hurcules 49:35
35 9 Shella Hopkinson 49:52
36 28 Rachel Brighton 50:25
37 30 Shivon Tera 50:51
38 6 Linda Carey 51:04
39 31 Lucy Lord 51:53
40 24 Robert Demainme 54:42
41 7 Lindsey Fallows 55:23
42 42 Foluke Agbede 57:57
43 36 Holly Wainwright 59:57

Leeds Disability Sport News – January 2017

Happy New Year! Read on for the latest disability sport news in Leeds:

In Leeds

  • Leeds Lets Get Active leisure centre timetables for Jan to March 2017 are now available. There will also be LLGA community sessions within the South and East CCG area and more information will be available shortly about specific activities.
  • Leeds Sports Awards tickets are now available, with discounted Leeds Sports Club member tickets available from Monday 9th January. The awards are taking place at the First Direct Arena on Tuesday 7th March 2017.
  • FA Coaching Deaf Footballers workshop is taking place on Sunday 22nd January at Middleton Leisure Centre. If you are interested please follow the link above where you can see further details and enrol on the workshop.
  • Leeds Disability Sport Forum is taking place on Monday 23rd January at the John Charles Centre for Sport. This is suitable for practitioners, clubs, parents, participants and anyone else with an interest in disability sport. If you would like further details or to attend please contact:
  • DSY Annual Awards Dinner will be held at The Centenary Pavilion, Elland Rd on Friday 24th March 2017. The price of the event – a celebration of sporting achievement, participation and volunteering – remains £30 per person, to include a four course meal, speeches, entertainment and a raffle. Nomination forms are also available to recognise disability sport achievements in the county. There is a separate category for Paralympic level athletes, where you can nominate Yorkshire’s Paralympians in Rio.
  • Wheelchair Tennis CPD is taking place in Leeds at the John Charles Centre for Sport (Tennis Centre) on the 24th April 2017. This is aimed at accredited level 2 and above coaches who would like to develop their skills to work more effectively with wheelchair tennis players.


Outside Leeds

  • Safer Communities Fund (SCF) is a grant-giving scheme designed to make funding easily accessible for projects which aim to make West Yorkshire safer and feel safer. Round 10 of grants are available to apply for up to the 20th January 2017 and groups can apply for funding up to £5,000.
  • Cerebral Palsy and Sport Awareness Workshop is taking place in Nottingham on 22nd February, 17th May and 27th September 2017. This is ideal for teachers, coaches, physios, parents or those who lead sport and physical activity. The cost is £30 per person and for full information on Cerebral Palsy Sport CPD opportunities or to book your place now please contact CP Sport on 0115 925 7027 or email
  •  Coach Education Courses held in West Yorkshire in 2017 are now available to view via the Yorkshire Sport Foundation website.

Leeds Disability Sport News – November 2016

In Leeds

  • Voting has opened for Leeds Sports Awards 2017. A new voting system is in operation for senior achievers, with a standard nomination process for the other categories. Check out the website now for further information about this and how to purchase your tickets. Nominations close at midnight Wednesday 14th
  • Para-Swimming Come and Try Session is taking place at Morley Leisure Centre on Saturday 17th December, 3.30pm to 5.30pm. If you fancy yourself as the next Paralympic swimmer then come along to the event- this is suitable for all ages and impairment groups, for swimmers who are comfortable completing 25m unaided. Please register in advance by completing the form via the link or by e-mailing by Friday 9th December:

Outside Leeds

  • England Rugby with IMAS have developed a simple promotional guide to help explain the concept of Mixed Ability Rugby to potential clubs and committees, players (support services and carers), coaches and ‘Champions’ who have the drive to instigate and develop Mixed Ability Rugby Teams.
  • British Cycling National Paracycling Classification Assessment Day is taking place in Manchester on 26th January 2017, for bicycle, trike, and handcycle riders. All those planning to compete as a Paracyclist in 2017 who have not previously attended an assessment are required to take this opportunity in order to ease their passage to participate in next year’s domestic Paracycling competition programme. Contact Paul West for an appointment slot and more details before 10th January:

Leeds Disability Sport News – October 2016

Please see below for the latest disability sport news in and around Leeds this month:

In Leeds

  • Learning Disability Tennis Camp is running at the John Charles Centre for Sport on Saturday 12th November 2016. Run by the Tennis Foundation in partnership with the Sport & Active Lifestyles service this is suitable for all ages and ability levels.
  • Sportivate “Mop Up” round of funding is now available. For any groups or organisations interested please complete a project proposal by Friday 25th November, you will hear back by Wed 7th December if successful. Projects must be delivered 31st March 2017.
  • Herd Farm Activity Residential has been announced for families of children with a disability. This is taking place on the 10th and 11th December 2016 in North Leeds. Contact Herd Farm directly for further information.
  • Para-Swimming Come and Try Session is taking place at Morley Leisure Centre on Saturday 17th December 2016. If you are disabled and have been inspired by the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this is an opportunity to find out more about Para-swimming. Swimmers will take part in a range of adapted activities designed to showcase individual ability and will receive personalised advice on other opportunities available to them following the session. Swimmers must be able to swim out of their depth to a minimum distance of 25m.
  • Leeds Sports Awards will be taking place on Tuesday 7th March 2017 at the First Direct Arena. Tickets are now available and nominations for awards will open shortly.


Outside Leeds

  • On Track Disability Sport Magazine is a free National publication available bi-monthly. This is available on a subscription basis, free of charge and delivered straight to your door to all people with a disability.
  • Para-Athletics Introduction day is taking place on Saturday 26th November in Manchester. This is a free event for ages 11+ through to adults interested in getting involved in athletics.


Special Olympics National Games in 2017 are looking to recruit more officials. The Games will be taking place in August in Sheffield.