Trailblazer is an initiative providing adventure challenges to people of all abilities and ages. The idea came from one of the team realising the potential of the trails around the Cairngorms for off road wheelchair users. After riding the trails as a team, we realised that we could create the UK’s first off road wheelchair race. The ethos behind Trailblazer is to provide adventure challenges that are accessible to everyone. The project is just in its beginnings, we have a route, we have interest and now we require funding. In the long term we will expand in to different adventure challenges for a range of disabilities.
At present there are very few opportunities for disabled people to participate in adventure races that have been designed with their capabilities and aspirations in mind. Trailblazer believes in reverse integration, this means, creating events and races for a specific physical and/or learning impairment that non-disabled team members can also enter. Trailblazer researches routes that will be completely accessible so that every participant can feel reassured that this event is suitable for them.
Given these statistics, you can see the current lack of provision and opportunity for disabled people to participate in sport.
In a recent survey by Able2Adventure (SmartSurvey; Access to the Outdoors, 2018)
We are a group of four individuals all sharing the same goal of wanting to create accessible adventure races. Gordon McGregor, designs off road wheelchairs through his company Paratreker and has seen the benefits first hand of helping get people into wild country trails. Laura May is a full-time wheelchair user and a member of staff at Able2Adventure who can be found riding trails in her mountain trike up and down the UK. Lynsey Humes, is a freelance expedition leader and event co-ordinator, who has many years of experience working for various adventure race companies in the UK and overseas. Gemma Hendry, is the founder of Able2Adventure, a disability adventure activity company in the Cairngorms.
As a group we are:
Trailblazer has already planned a wheelchair adventure race for June 6th 2020. We will use the funds from the crowdfunder to run a successful event.
Trialled the wheelchair race in Glenmore Forest with a range of wheelchair users
Been granted permission by the Landowner for the first race
Allocated a large accessible staging area for everything from registration to a wheelchair demo area and skills course
Gathered photo’s, and created a film showcasing the route and it’s accessibility
Reserved a Mobiloo for June 6th
Created partnerships with off road wheelchair manufacturers to have a space in the staging area
Been offered support from Forestry and Land Scotland and Glenmore Lodge
Developed a network of volunteers as race marshal’s and first aiders
Organised comprehensive race insurance
Completed risk assessments and event management plans
Started planning for other future events, such as race for learning disabilities