Mission Marathon with a Vintage Twist

Tuesday 08 May 2018

Disabled athlete Sarah Piercy is taking on her own Mission Marathon in aid of Hannahs using a unique mode of transport. She and a group of friends are going to ride along the Exeter Canal in vintage mobility tricycles.

Sarah, who suffers from Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, is always on for a sporting challenge and has persuaded her friends to take part in this marathon. Sarah has collected a variety of vintage mobility tricycles which have been beautifully restored by her friend Michael Wood in order to preserve a history of disability transport, for posterity and for fun.

Sarah decided to do the Mission Marathon to arouse the interest of other disabled people in keeping fit and also to prove to the organisers of other marathons that she and her tricycles are potentially capable of competing.

Sarah’s collection includes a mid 1940's lever propelled tricycle manufactured by J. Harty-Dingwall of Darleston, London which was almost certainly issued to a disabled RAF survivor of WW2 and a French Phillipe tricycle which was designed and manufactured by Poirier in France and originally designed before 1920. Also in the collection is Bugsy, a 'back to front' tadpole style tricycle which is steered by leaning on its backrest and based on a very old design from about 1870. There is a Dutch tricycle called the ‘Lely Gazelle’ designed by Van den Haagus, manufactured in The Hague and dates from 1930s to 50s. It has an unusual motion in that the two levers which drive the front wheel are moved up and down. The last in the collection is Andy which was the most common type of Mobility Tricycle from the 1930's yet few have survived.

On taking on new challenges Sarah said “I’m an out-going, somewhat ambiguous woman, but I have never let my disability get in my way and neither should anyone else. It’s only the adapting of the challenge that the able seem to have the difficulty with. To have the biggest smile on your face as you come over the Finish line is the greatest feeling. To have achieved your own challenge is your own ability”.