Ruairidh Brown – An Athlete’s Journey
Hi, I am Ruairidh Brown. I am 21 years old and I am a cyclist. I have a very rare genetic condition called KAT6A Syndrome. There are only around 250 known cases in the world and it affects people in different ways. When I was a young boy my occupational therapist recommended I do exercises like swimming and cycling to help my co-ordination. I really enjoy both but cycling is the one I enjoy the most. I like the freedom I have now and I like the thrill of going fast.
I first started racing when I was around 8 years old. We used to race at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow with the youth cycling clubs from the Glasgow area. I was in a club called Glasgow Riderz and I raced with them until I was 16. They also did cycle training and I learnt lots of different skills with them and went on to race in mountain bike races and at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. In 2013 I joined the Special Olympics Scotland West cycling team and raced at the SO National Games at Tameside near Manchester. That was where I won my first medals and I remember it made me so happy. The next year I went to Belgium to the Special Olympics European Games and won a Gold medal which was great. I also made many new friends in the Great Britain team as well as from Holland and Belgium. I raced in the World Games in Los Angeles in 2015 and was really pleased to meet some of the athletes from Belgium that I had met the year before. This is one of the best things about being in the Special Olympics teams. I now have many more friends that I can meet up with at any time. It has also given me a lot more confidence and I have managed to get a full time job working with a construction company.
In recent years I have competed in two INAS World Cycling Championships and another Special Olympics World Games. I have won lots of medals and many other awards. Without competing in these competitions I would never have been able to do all this and I am very proud of my achievements. With the experience I have at other competitions and from my previous cycle training I am now able to help the other athletes at our training sessions. It is funny that I started my cycle training with Glasgow Riderz at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow when I was eight years old and I now train and help with the Glasgow Disability Sport and Special Olympics cycle training at Bellahouston Park on each Wednesday during the summer months.