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07 February 2024

In 2008, jump jockey Wayne Burton’s life changed forever when a fall at Exeter left him with a broken back and spinal cord damage. Committed to supporting others, Wayne talks here about his most recent challenge, the London Marathon.

Tell us a bit about yourself and this new challenge?

Since my rehabilitation with the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) at Oaksey House in Lambourn, I’ve taken on some amazing challenges to try to support others.

Looking back, I left school in 1999 and went straight into horseracing – a sport I love. I trained to be a jockey and started as an apprentice on the Flat. In 2005, I struggled with my weight and got too heavy to stay racing on the Flat so I trained as a Conditional jockey (jump racing) to ride over obstacles.

I have always been an outdoors person, and enjoyed football and fishing in my spare time, though working in horseracing there was not a lot of spare time.  
I was unfortunate to suffer a bad injury in 2008 in a hurdle race at Exeter Racecourse and  suffered injuries to my head. I broke my back and damaged my spinal cord in the T4 -T5 area, which put me into a wheelchair. Since then I have been doing lots of rehabilitation and fitness work, keeping myself as fit and strong as possible.    

How has the IJF continued to support you?

I am now living at the IJF’s centre at Oaksey House. Since the move here in 2021 I am yet to find any work, but I have been doing the odd fishing lesson and providing IT support for other beneficiaries of the charity.

The IJF has been there from day one and I’m lucky to have them behind me. As I live on site,  I’m able to use all the facilities including the gym, which is very helpful towards the marathon training.

A special mention goes to Scott Reed who is my friend and support runner for the marathon. He is part of the Oaksey House physio team. 

 The hardest part for me is relying on my body, which can be temperamental at times with all the disabilities I have. 

 What do you think will be most challenging element of the race in April?

The training is going pretty well but I am finding out I’m having to rest as much as I train. It’s a totally different ball game to my normal training. I’d like to have been doing more but with all my disabilities I have to listen to my body more these days, especially when I have to remember I’m 40 and had almost 16 years in a wheelchair.

The weather hasn’t been ideal so I’m lucky I have the gym at Oaksey House. They have invested in an invictus training treadmill for wheelchairs so I’ve been making the most of that equipment.

I’m pretty proud of how it’s going as I’ve completed my first ever 10k at Dorney Lake, a 10-mile training push round Swindon, and I went back to Dorney recently to take on my first ever half marathon.  It was great to have Clare Hazell from Oaksey House there to cheer me on, as she is a London Marathon regular.

Wayne with Scott Reed

How can people support with this huge challenge?

I have a Facebook group and other social networks but the best way to find me is through my website:

I have always done things for and to inspire others. This is the most important thing to me with everything I do.

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