Ron Price Is Getting Faster . . . But he Worries No-One is Following Behind

Adversity has the remarkable ability of amplifying even the most astonishing of feats.


Introducing, Mr Ron Price.


The retired local authority auditor’s life dramatically changed in 1978 when he suffered a serious spinal injury in a car crash.


“I’ve been a paraplegic since I was in my early 20s,” Ron explains. “I had a car accident so I’ve been a wheelchair user for a long time. Once I had that accident, I was told my life expectancy would be about 50.”


Ron, now 70, ultimately had two options; accept his cruel fate, or defy those odds.


“Because of the inevitability of a permanent spinal injury, knowing you’re going to be a wheelchair user for life, you have to adapt pretty quickly. I saw it as a challenge and an opportunity.” he says.

Staying active played a vital role in helping Ron overcome his brutal ordeal, and some 40 years after his life was transformed forever, he found a new hobby.


“When I retired, I’d started doing wheelchair racing, just to see how good I could get,” he explained. “I do about six days a week of training, about 80 to 100km every week, and over time I’ve gotten faster, and improved my technique.”


Ron, from Rhoose, can regularly be seen training near the local barrage or at The Knap in Barry. He even has the ability to attach rollers to his wheelchair to train indoors during adverse weather conditions.


Ever since competing in the Cardiff City 10k in 2018 at the age of 65, Ron became hooked. His times have tumbled, and Ron continues to rack up the miles.


“I had no idea about how fit or fast I could be. I did the Newport marathon this year in two hours and 50 minutes which is way faster than the age-related British record for a marathon runner. This year, I won the Cardiff City 10k in September in 33 minutes. I won the Barry Island 10k in August last year as well. My speed is always improving.”


Not content with his already spectacular achievements, which include competing in 40 races ranging from 10km to 42km in distance, Ron has set himself an astounding goal.


“My aim is to do a marathon when I’m 100. This is preparation for that. It’s kind of an experiment in my own mind. My strength is probably better now than it was in my 20s.”


Racing afforded Ron the opportunity to compete with Tredegar-born Richie Powell – who represented Great Britain at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona.


But while Ron has hopes of racing for decades to come, there are major concerns over the future of the sport.


“There is a heritage of wheelchair racing in Wales. Tanni Grey, who is now chair of Sport Wales, is probably the most well-known. Chris Hallam, who has won the London marathon multiple times, he’s really promoted the sport too.


“When I first had my spinal injury in 1978 there was very little disability sport anywhere. There’s been a huge progression in my lifetime. But there aren’t as many people coming into the sport now.


“When it’s Richie and I turning up with a combined age of 120, we need some young blood.”


Ron joined the board of Disability Sport Wales in January and is now hoping his own story can inspire others to take up the sport.


“I’m trying to use my story as an example of what can be achieved for older people in terms of disability sports, as well as the young,” he says. “Disability Sport Wales do a lot of work promoting sport for younger people, but there’s also a big health crisis, so anything we can do to keep people active is a really important aspect of what public bodies do.”


And while it has at times been a somewhat thankless task, it’s clear that Ron won’t be giving up, because, quite simply, that’s not in his nature.


“There are wheelchair sport-related opportunities of all sorts that people can take up, but I don’t think necessarily we’re getting those people coming forward.


“It is hard. Doing a wheelchair marathon, of which I’ve done five, it’s not an easy sport. It’s not only physically demanding, it’s also technically very difficult, and it’s expensive.

For the time being, Ron will continue to train during the cold winter months before returning to competitive action at the Cardiff Bay 10k in March, a month before he tackles his sixth marathon in Newport.