Dubai: British expat Laura Everest is a leadership specialist, executive coach and motivational speaker. She also completed the 10km race in the Dubai Marathon on Sunday.
You may wonder what the big deal is. Well, 10 years ago, this 57-year-old woman never thought she would ever walk again after being hit by a speeding car while jogging in Dubai.
Everest’s body was battered, her ankles crushed, her left elbow broken and her left hamstring torn. Everest has had both her ankles rebuilt with titanium plates and screws. She has several nerve surgeries done on both feet. Till date, she has had 20 surgeries with more planned.
Her feet have limited movement due to the ankle replacement and foot fusion, she said.
“This year was the first time in 10 years that I have not been in a plaster cast or on crutches. I saw a window of opportunity to participate in the 10km run and I took it. It was a huge achievement for me,” she said.
Everest’s timing of 63 minutes and 40 seconds ensured she was ahead of two-thirds of participants in the 10km race. “I was sure that I could complete the race, but it was about how far I could push myself since I am not allowed to run. But I did not want to be right at the back struggling,” she said.
And so Everest planned a strategy. “I am very grateful that despite all the injuries, I can actually trot faster than most people can jog. I wanted to start off slowly. So the first 2km I walked, but I can walk very fast. Then I began a slight jog. I monitored my speed, time and distance all through on my app.
“Up to 5km, I kept up with the slight jog. From 5km to 7km, I added more speed. I pushed myself a bit more than I should have from then on to finally finish at 63 minutes.”
She added: “I was delighted to note that I was ahead of two thirds of people in the 10km race. I was pleasantly surprised with my number for I thought I would finish in 75 minutes.”
“For me, it is an enormous achievement. I don’t know if I will get a window of opportunity again because I know that I am likely to face more surgeries. But I am thrilled to bits with what I have accomplished,” Everest noted.
“The world is full of challenges. The point is not to become a victim, find solutions instead. Having belief in yourself is critical. I am an average person who has overcome so much [challenges]. If I can do it, anyone can,” she said.
It pays to keep fit
Everest emphasised her commitment to fitness, stating she works out at the gym every day. “I keep myself physically fit in the best way I can. I walk really fast. Working out every day meant my mind and body were prepared for the challenge. Thanks to my fantastic surgeons who worked at rebuilding me, has ensured I can live my dream,” she said.