Lawyer completes New York marathon in a wheelchair
24 November 2017
A New Zealand lawyer who was paralysed last year has completed the New York marathon in a wheelchair.
30 year old Laura Stuart suffered life-changing injuries in a mountain bike accident in February last year. She lost control of her bike on a steep forest trail, flew over the handlebars and landed on her head, fracturing her back and neck and breaking her ribs. She had to undergo major surgery and rehabilitation.
The lawyer, now confined to a wheelchair, works at the firm Blackman Spargo Rural Law
. Despite having to make huge adjustments to her life, she manages to remain active. In her spare time Stuart horse-rides at a centre for the disabled and has also learned to sail. Stuart said "I'm quite surprised at my optimism and positivity. I think I get that from all the support of all the family and friends around me
". She added that setting goals is key, and that "keeping myself busy is keeping me going, keeping me alive."
Stuart took part in the New York City Marathon this month, as one of ten athletes representing Achilles International New Zealand
. The charity provides support to disabled athletes competing alongside able-bodied athletes in sports events.
Stuart had a minor crash 2 kilometers from the end of the marathon due to the wet weather. She ended up on her side, but said that the crowd helped her up and checked she was ok. She persevered to complete the race in 4 hours and 15 minutes.
She said the marathon was amazing and that the festival atmosphere pushed her through to the end, adding "I've never been in anything like it before."