Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

BACK FROM THE RUNNING BRINK; Two Years after Major Surgery, Ipswich Athlete Conquers 100km Ordeal

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

BACK FROM THE RUNNING BRINK; Two Years after Major Surgery, Ipswich Athlete Conquers 100km Ordeal

Article excerpt

DAVID

LEMS

david.lems@qt.com.au

WHEN Ipswich runner Paul Shard discovered a bulging disc, he never thought he would run 100km and inspire others.

He has.

The Brassall-based athlete nicknamed "Shardy' has made a comeback that would make anyone proud.

He won the recent inaugural Nerang Trail 100km open race by an hour and seven minutes after facing the real possibility of not being able to run competitively again.

The Bradken Industries fitter and turner suffered a debilitating back injury that required surgery due to the incredible pain it generated.

Two years ago, he was stuck in a hospital bed unsure whether he could again walk properly, let alone tackle such an amazing sporting test.

He made a vow to recover and did, deciding a 100km run would provide an even more satisfying conquest than Gold Coast marathons he had run before his major injury setback.

"It was two years since my back operation, and I wanted to set myself a new challenge,'' Shard, 44, said.

"So I entered that event and just wanted to tick that box of actually running a 100 kilometre trail race but I didn't expect to win.

"To win was just amazing.''

Even attempting such an incredible challenge high- lighted how much character and determination Shard has.

After four years of back troubles, the significance of his condition only became apparent late in 2013.

"The bulging disc was pushing on the nerve and it just got that bad that I couldn't even walk,'' Shard said.

"I had to stretch for like an hour and a half even to just drive five minutes down the road to work. I put up with it for about six months.''

Surgery followed on July 9, 2014 after cortisone injections "did absolutely nothing''.

In the months that followed, he slowly ventured back into his beloved sport.

"Within three weeks, I started running again and it took me 44 minutes to run 5k,'' he said, having contested Gold Coast marathons in 2008, 2011 and 2013. …

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