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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 18°C
# fighting fit for ewing's
Irish cancer survivor loses out on world record by just ONE second
But Nikki Bradley has already achieved another incredible feat.

20160805_132415 Iain Miller Iain Miller

NIKKI BRADLEY THOUGHT she had beaten the world record for the fastest 5km on crutches back in June.

However, she recently found out that she missed out on the record by just one second.

Due to a delay in processing records, Guinness had not updated its website at the time of Nikki’s attempt.

The cancer survivor completed the challenge in Holland in 44 minutes 21 seconds, unaware that she needed to beat 44 minutes 20 seconds to set the record, not the previous time of 49 minutes.

American runner Ann Beck-Lee ran 5km on crutches one second faster than Nikki in March.

Speaking to, Nikki described the situation as “bitterly disappointing”.

The hardest part is that during the last lap I purposely slowed down. Your foot can’t graze ground at all, that’s an automatic disqualification. I didn’t mind losing a few seconds to make sure that didn’t happen.

However, she’s decided not to dwell on it, adding: “I still feel proud.”

‘Get back on the horse’ 

Several people have asked Nikki if she’ll attempt to break the record again as she came so close, but she’s not sure if that’s realistic.

“It requires a huge amount of paperwork and organising … I’ll never forget my time in Holland and the people I met. I don’t feel like I’d get anything more [by doing it again], other than just a certificate.

I got some good advice from a friend who told me to use what happened in a positive way. I decided to get back on the horse.

“It’s something that everyone can relate to, we all have had to deal with some sort of disappointment. You need to bounce back and make every second count.”

The 30-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, at the age of 16. In 2013, she learned that she would remain on crutches permanently.

In a bid to raise awareness about the condition, Nikki regularly participates in physical challenges to highlight the importance of exercise for rehabilitation.

Nikki Bradley / YouTube

Her latest challenge consisted of teaming up with Iain Miller, an internationally-acclaimed climber, to take on a sea stack in An Port, county Donegal.

They used an inflatable boat to get out to the stack, which is called the Realm of the Senses. It’s about 45 metres in height or 147 foot.

“The climb was carefully planned by Iain as this challenge contained a high level of risk for a crutch user.

“The chance of slipping on wet rock or losing balance on the narrow grass verge on the summit was a real concern,” she said.

Iain-Nikki Iain Miller Iain and Nikki Iain Miller

Nikki said the whole process took about two hours, including half an hour on the boat.

She said the boat ride was “an important part of the challenge as it caused the most pain”.

I am in some degree of pain all of the time. Due to damaged nerves I am never 100% pain-free, but my pain threshold is higher than the average person so it allows me to still push myself regardless.

Nikki had to engage in “a balancing act” once they reached the summit, as one of her legs is 11cm longer than the other due to multiple surgeries.

“When you climb a mountain you take in the view and you can kind of relax. At the top of sea stack it’s slightly different, you don’t really have anything to hold on to.

“At one point a gust of wind pushed me forward, it gave me quite a fright … There’s only one way to go.”

Iain sat while the pair were on top of the stack, to act as an anchor.

When speaking about the climb, Nikki said:

The past week has taught me to make every second count. I am still disappointed with what happened with my record but I learned a long time ago that life can throw a curveball at any moment.

“Finding a way to bounce back is the key to staying on top. I could have easily spent the week feeling sorry for myself but I see that as a waste of my time. It won’t help anyone, least of all myself, so why bother?

“Ploughing my energy into new and exciting things provides more satisfaction so I chose to do that instead.”

Nikki has now turned her attention to training for a 10km mountain climb in Wales.

For more information about Nikki’s campaign, visit her website or Facebook page.

Read: Irish cancer survivor breaks world record for fastest 5km on crutches

Pictures: This amazing Irish cancer survivor has conquered a huge Icelandic glacier… on crutches

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