John Nethercott has gone on a journey from the Paralympics podium to parks of Barry, but now he is ready to dust off his running shoes at the Brecon Carreg Barry Island 10K.
It has been almost 26 years since Barry’s middle distance king made history in Barcelona when he claimed 1500m gold and 800m bronze before bringing home a world record at the IPC World Championships.
Now a Vale of Glamorgan parks worker, John is not one to boast about his glittering athletics career, but now he is determined to provide inspiration for others with physical impairments at the inaugural Brecon Carreg Barry Island 10K on August 5.
“The guys I work with down at Porthkerry Park had absolutely no idea that I was a Paralympic gold medalist and world champion,” said John, who went on to pickup silver in the 800m T37 category in Atlanta in 1996.
“I look back and I’m really proud of those days, but my knees have stopped me from running so much now. It’s great for the area that Barry Island has a 10K race on closed roads and it will give local people a real chance to get running.
“I want to show people that you can do everything and anything you put your mind to. Things are definitely changing for the better for para athletes and I’m looking forward to taking part.”
The long road to Paralympic glory began when John’s potential was spotted by his Ysgol Maes Dyfan headteacher Mr. Howemoore. He inspired John to overcome his obstacles and chase his dreams, and now he wants to see the next generation of Welsh para athletes flourish.
“I’ve been running since I was 12, it all started with my headteacher at school Mr. Howemoore, who saw what I was good at and I hope I’ve done him proud and can keep on doing him proud by carrying that on and getting more people running.”
Entries for the Brecon Carreg Barry Island 10K have closed but you can still sign up to run for Charity Partner Ty Hafan or enter the Family Fun Run and Toddler Dash. If you want to be part of a festival weekend of running, head over to barryisland10K.co.uk.