Paralympian Karen rows in for big Runher event

Karen Cromie World Rowing Championships in Poznan

Karen Cromie will be on the starting line for the Belfast Telegraph Runher 5k and 10k event this Sunday — competing on a hand cycle around the picturesque but hilly Stormont course

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A keen supporter of women in sport, she took part in the first Runher.

“I’m really looking forward to taking part again, it’s a great event with a super atmosphere. Everyone is really friendly, you don’t have to be really sporty and you can set your own goals. I’m planning to check out the course this week and I’m taking part with a group of friends on Sunday, but if anyone sees me struggling on the hand cycle feel free to give me a push,” she said.

The event — now marking its third race and backed by the Belfast Telegraph, Sport Northern Ireland, Cool FM and Premier Inn — aims to encourage women of all ages and sporting abilities to improve their overall fitness levels and simply enjoy exercise.

It’s been a busy summer for the Fermanagh international rower who has just moved from Team GB to Team Ireland in the adaptive rowing mixed double skull event with a new partner, Vincent Culhane. Together they competed in the World Rowing Championships at Poznan in Poland at the beginning of September and the Munich World Cup in June.

“Training opportunities have opened up so much with my new partner Vinny Culhane who’s based in Limerick. So rather than having to spend time travelling to England, I can get to Limerick more frequently and we aim to train together twice a month. In the meantime I’m out in the single skull at every opportunity.”

On top of her training commitments on the road to the Paralympics in London 2012, Karen has also embarked on a Masters Degree at Queen’s University in autism spectrum disorders for which she is funded by the Irish Sports Council. Karen is also supported by the Sporting Institute of Northern Ireland and the Sports Council for Northern Ireland, not to mention her family and friends.

Following a spinal cord injury seven years ago, Karen was introduced to wheelchair basketball and went on to win silver medals with Team GB in the Paralympic World Cups in 2005 and 2006. Her good friend Helene Raynsford, also an adaptive rower, introduced her to the water in 2006 and she overcame a serious back injury in 2008 to train and compete, qualifying with crewmate James Roberts for the Beijing Paralympics.

The Runher 5k and 10k events get under way on Sunday at 2pm. There will be a pre-race warm-up at 1.30pm. To register, log on to www.runher.co.uk

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