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Stroke survivor takes on triangle challenge

Ready to race: Saltus teacher Bruce Sinclair will compete in the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge at the weekend (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

An athlete struck down by a stroke a year ago is to take part in a gruelling three-day sports event to celebrate his battle back to health.

Bruce Sinclair, 45, will compete in the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge, part of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend starting on Friday.

The challenge, which will run over three days, includes a mile-long run on Front Street, a ten-kilometre walk, and a half-marathon.

Mr Sinclair, a biology teacher at Saltus Grammar School, wants to do the challenge to prove that recovery is possible.

He explained: “I wanted to show my kids that you can face adversity in life and overcome it.

“I also wanted to do it for other people who may have had an illness in their life and show them that if you put your mind to something, you can do it.”

Mr Sinclair, from Warwick, is a keen runner and has competed in marathons during May 24 and Race Weekend.

But his active lifestyle came to a halt when he suffered an ischemic stroke — a blockage in blood vessels running to the brain — at the end of January last year.

He said: “I woke up and I felt a wave go down my right side. I lost vision in my right eye and I lost all feeling in my right side.

“I knew right away what had happened.”

He spent almost two weeks in hospital before his sight and feeling came back.

He spent another three months recovering at home before he was able to go back to work.

He said: “My memory was so foggy that at one point I got lost in my own kitchen.”

Mr Sinclair added: “I was thankful because I could still move, but the trauma caused complete numbness and lack of sensation.”

He started running again in September as a way to give himself a “safe goal to train for”.

He explained: “By the end of September when it started to cool I thought ‘OK, let’s start pushing and see if we can get the mileage up a little higher’.

“By the end of October, I thought ‘I think doing the half triangle will be our goal’.”

Mr Sinclair has trained for the race by running every other day by himself and with the Mid Atlantic Athletic Club’s track team.

Since he started training, other people who have suffered strokes have come to him for advice and support.

He said: “I know a triathlete in Spain who suffered a stroke two weeks ago and my best friend knew of this woman and straight away he put her husband in contact with me.

“This couple contacted me and there were just all these questions they had, like ‘why? How? What’s next? What about this test?’.”

Mr Sinclair said that the key to coping with a stroke and other illnesses is patience and time.

He added: “I don’t by any means profess to be the first person to do something like this, but I think that if I can set an example for my kids or some of my friends or colleagues then maybe they can say ‘OK, maybe we can fight through something that is hard’.

“It’s not a superhuman thing that I’m doing, it’s just something that you have to try hard to do.”