Lizzie in the fast lane for Commonwealth Games medal
A woman today described how she has moved on from the despair of being paralysed to the excitement of competing in the Commonwealth Games.
When Lizzie Tench was left seriously injured after a cycling accident in 2012 she struggled to come to terms with having to live with a spinal injury.
But after treatment at Shropshire's specialist orthopaedic hospital she went on a residential course with the charity, Back Up, and hasn't looked back since.
This week the 43-year-old, who lives on the Cheshire border, flies out to Australia's Gold Coast to take part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The paratriathlete is hopeful she could return with a medal from the games in which her sport makes its debut.
Lizzie still has close links with the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital and also trains during the summer at the Trismark-organised swimming sessions in the Mere in Ellesmere.
For her race she will complete a 750-metre sea swim, a 15-mile handbike ride and end with a five-kilometre wheelchair 'run'.
It is a far cry from the life she dreaded after her accident, when she was hit by a trailer being towed by a vehicle.
She said: "I had lost all my self-confidence, sense of identity and joy, and could only focus on everything I had lost and what I could no longer do.
“Back Up opened my mind to new possibilities and put me in touch with other people who had gone through everything I was experiencing. They had come out the other side and were doing more than just getting by, they were thriving and achieving things I wouldn’t have thought possible with a spinal cord injury.’’
She now helps with wheelchair skills courses for the charity and acts as a mentor.
Last year was a hugely successful one for Lizzie, who took silver in the 2017 Paratriathlon World Cup.
Lizzie sees her fellow UK triathlete European Paratriathlon champion Jade Jones-Hall as the potential gold medallist.
The paratriathlon will be held on April 7.