Woman who was unable to walk unaided gets ready to run Principality Cardiff Half Marathon
A 27-year-old woman from Crewkerne, Somerset, is taking on the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon next October – an incredible feat considering just seven years ago, she couldn’t walk unaided.
Jordi Adams had suffered a lot of ill health from the age of 10 but at 14 she was left unable to walk on her own. Doctors had no idea why this had happened.
She said: “My brain wasn’t sending the right signals to my legs for them to work – I couldn’t willingly walk. I was put on lots of medication and told not to exercise.
“Doctors explained I had a neurological block between my brain and body. They didn’t know why it was happening, and over the years I had around 11 different diagnoses. I was told that was it, that was how my life was going to be. It meant that I could only get around in a wheelchair or had to use crutches for short distances.
“I was in a lot of pain. I wasn’t in a good place, and I didn’t have a good quality of life.”
However, in 2016, when Jordi was 19, she found out about a specialist hospital that said they might be able to help. After spending four weeks there, everything changed.
Jordi, who now works in admin for her local council, said: “I had very intensive physio in hospital and doctors established my legs had the strength to hold me unaided and said that I would be able to walk.
“Two physios were supporting me on either side and when they both let go, I remained standing. It was only when I realised that I was standing up without them that I fell over. It proved that I could do it but there was a brain block.
“That changed everything for me. I thought ‘I can do this now’ and 10 minutes later, I managed to take my first step unaided. That was on my second day in hospital and after four weeks I could walk out on my own. They helped to reprogramme my brain and I haven’t been on crutches since.”
At home Jordi started going for walks, gradually building up her distance. She soon moved in with her now husband, Matthew, and they continued walking together for the next two to three years.
She said: “One day we were out for a walk and I wondered if I could run. I don’t know what took over me, but I just went and ran 100m. It felt so much more natural – I didn’t have to think about what I was doing, and I remember thinking ‘OK this is something I can do’.”
Jordi then set herself the goal of running her local Parkrun and started training, at first using Couch to 5K and then adapting it to suit her.
She said: “It took me six to nine months before I did my first Parkrun. That was four years ago and I’ve not missed many since. I then manage to do my first 10K race a couple of weeks before lockdown in March 2020.
“There was no Parkrun or races during lockdown, but I continued running and then worked up to my first half marathon distance.”
When restrictions eased, Jordi then took part in Cardiff Half Marathon in 2022, and incredibly took on the Newport Marathon the following year. On the 7th anniversary of coming home from hospital she even ran an ultra-marathon, completing 50K last July.
She’s since joined a running club and plans on completing another marathon, where she hopes to get a Good for Age qualifying time for the London Marathon, as well as the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon again next year.
Jordi added: “Cardiff is the best half marathon I’ve done – the atmosphere and route are brilliant. My husband and mother-in-law are doing it with me next year too.
“If you told me 10 years ago that I’d be running, I’d never have believed you. That all feels like another lifetime. I never thought this would be something I’m doing or that I’d have this quality of life. I’m definitely making up for lost time now.
“I just want people to know that there is hope and you don’t have to listen to what people tell you. Running is for everyone who wants to do it. I often hear people say, ‘I wish I could run’, but you can. You just need to give it a go.”
Matt Newman, Chief Executive at event organisers Run 4 Wales, said: “We have so many incredible and inspiring runners who take part in the Cardiff Half each year and Jordi is proof of that. Her story of resilience and bravery shows what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. We can’t wait to cheer her over the finish line.”
The Principality Cardiff Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 6 October 2024. To enter visit: www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/take-part/register/