After months of intensive training and preparation, Ben Hill is set to cross the finish line at the Melbourne Marathon without the use of his wheelchair.
This comes at the helms of last year’s achievement, where Ben completed the 10km race in the Melbourne Marathon for the first time ever.
‘Last year when I came through the finish line, I had the biggest, widest smile on my face. I felt so proud. I want to do it all again, on my own two feet,’ says Ben.
Ben, has an acquired brain injury following a car accident and frontal lobe damage and limited use of his lower body, never imagined this was possible when Scope volunteer event coordinator Neville Stone initially suggested participating in early 2015.
‘Nobody thought we would actually do it. And initially Ben hated it so much. He hated being outside. He hated the heat, the cold, the wind, the rain, the sun. The first time we went training, we only made it to the mailbox,’ said Neville Stone.
‘But Ben is deeply competitive and loves the challenge. His commitment to extending his own personal boundaries is amazing.’
Ben trained for six months consistently with the support of Stone, his parents and disability service provider Scope.
The impact of marathon running has extended well beyond the initial purpose of encouraging physical exercise and healthy living, with Ben’s confidence and development in independent decision-making sky-rocketing.
‘He’s now got the confidence to do anything he sets his mind too. He made the decision this year that he was going to push himself to walk the final lap without his wheelchair. From walking to the mailbox to doing a 10km race walk, it’s absolutely phenomenal,’ said Stone.
Ben’s journey has also inspired a group of 16 people at Scope
‘It just goes to show that you don’t have to be an athlete to participate in marathon running,’ says Ben.
‘You just have to have the passion.’
Scope’s mission is to enable each person to live as an empowered and equal citizen.
We support people with physical, intellectual and multiple disabilities and developmental delays to achieve their goals. Our mission is to enable each person to live as an empowered and equal citizen.
Across Victoria, Scope provides services to over 6,000 people with a disability across more than 100 service locations.
Scope also works with corporate and community organisations to improve inclusiveness for people with a disability.
Scope’s foundations stretch back to 1948, when a group of parents who wanted better lives and options for their children with disabilities established the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria.
Scope acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.
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A PDF version of this media release can be found here.