My Road to Recovery: Kiri Wilson

Kiri Wilson bravely shares her personal story of how she used cycling and the Dartmoor Classic on her road to recovery from Mental Illness.

Five months ago, I was detained in a secure, acute psychiatric hospital suffering from debilitating mental illness; depression, anxiety, paranoia to name a few issues that I was struggling with. After being discharged from hospital, my marriage broke down. Having been sectioned, I had also lost my driving license. As a result of my breakdown, I am currently unable to continue my career in teaching. During the early spring, I was so ill, I was unable to go into a supermarket without suffering a panic attack. I couldn’t make a phone call or even pick my children up from school due to the severe anxiety.

To help me get through these immensely difficult times, running and cycling have become a daily necessity for me. Knowing that I had the Classic coming up helped keep me focused and reminded me that there was a positive challenge for me to overcome.

On Sunday, I rocked up to Newton Abbot Racecourse, alone. I manoeuvred myself into the pen, chatted to a few people around me and went on to complete the course and collect my results. On my own. After the ordeal of my last 6 months, this feels incredible. Furthermore, the icing on the cake was finishing the medio course in 4:44hrs and receiving a gold medal. Not bad for my first ever sportive. So, you see, I haven’t only cycled the 67 miles; I’ve come a VERY long way!

I want to say a huge thank you to all involved in running the Dartmoor Classic Sportive. The event logistics appeared very smooth, there were plenty of people to ask for help if needed, there was a very friendly atmosphere and all the staff and marshals were fantastic. I wanted to share my story so that I could let everyone involved know just how much this event has meant; it’s been a positive ray of light in a very dark year for me. It has given me some very much needed confidence. So thank you. Your hard work is very much appreciated. Mine is just one story; now imagine the impact across ALL of the participants....Amazing!!

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