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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 17 May 2022

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

Nikki Bradley beat the previous record by 5 minutes and 32 seconds.

Image: Gotspe Photography

CANCER SURVIVOR NIKKI Bradley has beaten the world record for the fastest 5km on crutches. The Donegal native arrived back from Holland today as a Guinness World Record-holder after completing the challenge in 44 minutes, 21 seconds.

The previous record was 49 minutes, 53 seconds.

Nikki’s decision to attempt the record in Holland had been a last-minute one –  she hadn’t even trained the full distance. Speaking to TheJournal.ie on her return to Ireland she said:

The record took place on an Olympic running track, and the 5k was 12 and a half laps. I didn’t actually get to train to do the full laps, I’d only done six laps.
So I was doing double what I’d trained before. There was one or two moments that I genuinely doubted I could do it.

The 30-year-old said that many supporters came along and they played a big part in motivating her. “The shouting and roaring from the stand kept me going,” she said.

The athlete said it felt “unbelievable” to break a world record but the only thought going through her head during the final lap was about keeping her leg from touching the ground – an immediate disqualification.

Once I started, my leg was slowly making its way to the ground. I was terrified during the final lap. I kept thinking: what if I had come this far and then my toe just touched the ground?

Nikki teamed up with Dutch athlete Michael Robbert Brans, who broke the same record on the same track in the male category. Brans beat the time of 44 minutes with his time of 38 minutes.

received_1188941527815178 Nikki Bradley and Michael Robbert Brans

Nikki 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 and doctors have recently told her that she will lose her right leg.

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She has refused to let anything hold her back. Already this year she has climbed Donegal’s Mount Errigal, conquered an Icelandic glacier and abseiled down a lighthouse.

Nikki has already chosen her next challenge: The Fan Dance, an endurance test that follows the Welsh mountain route that the special services train on. The course brings participants through the highest peak of the Brecon Beacons while carrying a weighted rucksack.

Next week Nikki will start training for a mini 10k version held in November, a way of testing if she will be up for the 24km course in January.

I’m sure other challenges will crop up during the year too. That’s what I love about these things. You never know what’s coming next – I just keep saying yes.

Read: 6 brilliant Irish people who overcame the odds

Read: This cancer survivor just climbed Ireland’s snowiest mountain – on crutches

About the author:

Roisin Nestor

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