A few years ago she thought she would never walk again. But next month Sally Haycock will take part in her first ever triathlon.
The 44 year old runner fought back from a paralysing illness - which left her hospital bound for three months - to compete in a number of marathons and long distance races.
But last year problems with her feet meant she was thwarted from running - so Sally decided to take up swimming to cope with her temporary incapacity.
“I hadn’t swum properly since getting my beginners certificate at school but it was the best exercise for me while I managed the pain from ‘plantar fasciitis’ – often known as policeman’s heel - which is where you have pain on the bottom of your foot.
“I really got in to my swimming which was when the idea of competing in the Ironman came to me. I had originally intended to do the running leg as part of a relay team but with the swimming coming along I thought why not go the whole hog,” she said.
She will be one of around 2,400 competitors taking part in the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire with the 13.1 mile running leg finishing in the heart of Stafford – following a 1.2 mile swim in Chasewater and 56 mile cycle around the surrounding countryside, on Sunday 9 June. The event is a collaboration between Ironman, the borough council and county council.
Her fiancé, John Scott, will be doing the running leg as part of a borough council relay team on the day.
The Stafford Borough Council employee has been spending many hours over the last few months getting herself in peak shape for the big day. But it was a far cry from her outlook on life only a handful of years ago.
In 2013 Sally was struck down by a rare condition called Guillain Barre Syndrome – an auto immune illness which attacks the peripheral nervous system that can eventually lead to paralysis. Doctor’s couldn’t guarantee she would walk again.
Sally continued: “It took a lot of dedication, physiotherapy and sheer bloody mindedness to first get me back walking, and then running. And in 2015 I ran my first half and since then have competed in marathons and other distance runs.
“It was that stubborn streak that kicked in when the foot problem last year stopped me running and so I took to the water. I suppose after that an Ironman became the next logical step for me.”
She has already raised over £6,000 for Guillain Barre charity – GAIN - for research and awareness into the condition.
Anyone wishing to donate to the charity can do so from her ‘Just Giving’ page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sally-haycock3
Press Release 5536