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Mont Blanc Challenge: Tony's journey

5 September 2017
Tony Collins

I started running when I was 14, and soon progressed to running for the senior team at my club. In 1998 I ran for England in the European Cup in Lisbon. In 2003 I won my first cap running for Great Britain in Portugal.

Since then I’ve run on numerous occasions for Team GB all over the world on the track, as well as cross-country and in half marathons.

I’m now 39 and work for Remploy as a Learning Disability spokesperson; I travel the country with my job coach, talking to prospective employers about why they should employ people like me with a learning disability. 

At the start of September, I’m taking part in the Mont Blanc Challenge. I’m really looking forward to walking up the highest mountain I’ve ever been up and checking out the amazing scenery for myself. I’ve been to France on numerous occasions, but never to Italy or Switzerland.

I usually train every day, but I’ve adapted my training recently to include lots of hills and quality time on my feet. Much of my training is done on my own, on familiar routes, but I’ve recently done several 15- mile walks with friends and family too. At first I was very nervous, mainly about the height I’ll be walking at, but now I’m just excited and can’t wait to go. I feel like my biggest problem now will be getting to the airport so early in the morning!

One of the highlights of my running career so far has been carrying the Olympic torch in Southend in 2012. In 2006 I also won Havering Disabled Personality of the Year and came 3rd in the London region.

Right now, I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I really enjoy meeting new, like-minded people and can’t wait start the adventure with them.

My main aim is to prove to everyone that people with a learning disability can achieve like everyone else when given the opportunity to do so.

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