I’m also proud to be part of the climb blox team. Their clothing is ace and they are super supportive. Check out my page on their website here: http://www.climblox.com/fran-brown/
I’d also like to thank The Arch Climbing Wall who have agreed to support me again this year. Without their support I couldn’t train full time or attend the comps. Thanks guys! www.archclimbingwall.com
I would additionally like to mention Climbers Against Cancer, set up by the amazing and inspiring John Ellison. Check out Johns Story on their website and buy one of the colourful T-shirts to show your support here: http://www.climbersagainstcancer.org
Back at the end of February, just as training was going great, I took a fall off the circuit board leading to some broken ribs and a two week stay in hospital. Not quite how I’d planned my training!
Those two weeks pretty much on bed rest meant I was really out of shape!
The ribs have healed and I’ve been back climbing for a few weeks now and am back to full time training. I’ve been working hard on my cardio fitness as well, getting back what I lost when I was in the hospital. I have a few comps coming up the first of which being a para boulder comp in Vail Colorado which I’m super excited about. Then there are a couple of possible lead comps in June and July and rockmasters in Arco in late summer. I’m planning some outdoor trips too although logistically these are quite hard due to my disability. I plan on filming some video blogs for this site soon, mostly they will just be updates but I hope to make one on my training at the Arch so people have some idea what I’m up to day to day.
Well it’s the end of the year so I thought It was time to quickly update this blog before 2013 starts. This website will be getting an overhaul in January so look out for some new exciting content.
What a year 2012 has been. Firstly there was the British para climbing series and the start of my full time training. The summer was eaten up by training and the paralympic ceremony work. The circus training project for this was great and I intend to do more circus work in 2013. The paralympic opening ceremony was a once in a lifetime experience and the aerial work we did was awesome. Between climbing training and paralympic rehearsals the summer pretty much disappeared and all too soon the world para climbing championships came around. Ok so we all know I won this so I’m not going to go on about it but needless to say it was epic to become world champion.
Since the worlds I have talked at the excellent women’s climbing symposium and have been working on my strength and cardio fitness, laying down the groundwork for next year. The training has actually been fun and a nice change but it’s back to a high climbing load from the start of January. The outdoor climbing progress has been pretty slow due to the inclement weather but fingers crossed for some cool projects I’ve got lined up for next year. I’m off for a weeks skiing holiday in January which will be a nice break from the norm and then its back to preparation for the British para climbing comps.
It’s interesting to consider the legacy that 2012 has left. The olympic and paralympic games clearly made an impression on the country with many of our athletes now household names. The media coverage of both games was great although its a shame that non olympic sports don’t get anywhere near as much recognition. Perhaps if climbing makes the 2020 games this might change. The fact that people are surprised when I tell them that para climbing isn’t part of the 2020 bid as the IPC and IOC are quite separate is another example of the publics attitude towards disability sport post the London games. The lack of media attention has been somewhat frustrating for me as I’m trying to climb full time and any exposure is helpful to both myself and in trying to promote para climbing.
The transport legacy of 2012 in London is a few extra lifts and ramps but on a day to day basis I don’t really notice any difference, the same niggles exist. I do think the exposure of the nation to paralympic sport has made a lasting impression which shows that people have an appetite for high level sport whatever the genre. Something that climbing should perhaps capitalise on?
Is the real legacy of 2012 the fact that instead of staring people now feel free to ask if I’m a paralympian or the fact that they are disappointed when I say I’m not?
Once again I’d like to thank my sponsors, The Arch Climbing Wall and Big Stone Ltd for their ongoing support and my coach Jimmie Gustin for being amazing.
Have a great new year and here’s to a successful 2013.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being invited to talk at the awesome Women’s climbing symposium. Held at The Hanger in Liverpool and organised by the amazing Shauna Coxsey this was a great event and celebration of women in climbing. More detail about my talk to follow in my next blog post but here is the highlights video for the whole event:
I am pleased to announce that I won the female physical disability class at the 2012 World Para Climbing Championships in Paris on the 14th September.
The world championships were a amazing experience. The integration of ParaClimbing into the main event created a great atmosphere and it was good to be able to watch and support all the other climbers.
The competition for me began with the medical classification day on the tuesday. All Paraclimbers underwent medical testing and we were each allocated a factor depending on out level of disability. This factor helps level the playing field so climbers with different impairments can compete fairly against each other. The actual climbing began on the Wednesday with the first qualification route (once they’d built a ramp up to the stage with the wall on!). This route was quite straightforward and I topped but it didn’t really split the climbers up. The following day was the second qualification route, which was significantly harder. Although I climbed well I was disappointed not to top, my injured wrist letting me down on a nasty vertical pinch. I had however climbed well enough to qualify in first place for the finals.
My final was on the Friday afternoon with isolation opening at midday. I was happy with the way in which I controlled my nerves during this time and clearly my mental preparation had helped as I know I can get really nervous before a comp. I was pretty shaky before we got to isolation but was absolutely fine when I was there, psyched but not nervous. My warm up went well and inspection was fine even though my visual impairment means I can only really inspect the first third of the route. I think I read the section of the route I could see well and got a good overall feel for the setting. I was last in the running order for my final. The first two climbers went pretty quickly and soon it was my turn. The route went well with no major problems. I didn’t top, my wrist again proved to be a bit of a hinderance and I greased off a move on the flat above the lip of the roof. I was however pleased to get passed the crux of the volume under the roof and not to get too tangled in the two top rope system. I enjoyed the climb and more importantly felt I read the route well, clearly all my onsight training really paid off.
I was aware that my climb had gone well and was super psyched when one of the officials told me I had won. My aim for these world championships, being my first international competition, was to be competitive but ultimately to go and learn, scope out the other climbers and get some experience so winning was an unexpected surprise. My summer training was good but interrupted somewhat by my wrist injury and surgery so to win off the back of a less than ideal run up was brilliant. The medal ceremony was interesting, someone clearly forgot that a wheelchair user might need to access the podium, but despite that it was an incredible experience, plus I managed not to cry at the national anthem.
Well It’s good to be back and to be able to spend time climbing for reasons other than training. I’m planning to spend some time resting, and then tick some outdoor projects before it gets too cold as my spinal injury means I can’t really tolerate low temperatures. Then it will be back to indoor training for the British series next year and other international competitions next year. The next world championships are in Spain in 2014. I’m applying to uni so hopefully that will work out in the next year too. I’m also going to try to promote paraclimbing more in the UK as well as working on getting more outdoor climbing time in to promote the non competitive side. As a result I am honoured to have been asked by Shauna Coxsey to talk at the women’s climbing symposium at the Climbing hanger Liverpool on the 3rd November.
Many thanks again to my sponsors The Arch Climbing Wall and Big Stone Ltd for their ongoing support.
A lot has happened since my last blog post. My training has been pretty interrupted due to wrist surgery that was theoretically meant to leave me pain free, tidying up some cartilage and ligaments with a quick recovery. It didn’t quite go to plan and I’m still super sore now but my cardio training has been continuing, plus I can also now to one arm pull ups on my front three and back three. I’ve also been doing some research on other climbers whilst laid up as shown in the pic below!!
Rehearsals have stepped and I am so proud to be able to take part in what is going to be an amazing show. Be sure to check it out next Wednesday on Channel 4! I have had the opportunity to do some filming with one of my sponsors, The Arch and I will post the video on here.
I am also pleased to be able to announce that I am now sponsored by Bigstone Ltd who are the Uk Agency for Five Ten, Arcteryx and Smartwool and they have very kindly provided me with a some awesome new Five Ten and Arcteryx kit for my training and competing.
So, finally I’ve got my website back up and up to date.
It’s been a busy few months. I’m working on the London 2012 paralympic ceremonies (although I can’t say exactly what I’m doing as it’s super top secret!) and have been training for the para climbing world championships.
I recently became British para climbing champion and therefore qualified for the worlds and there is now a little over a month before the world championships which are being held in Bercy, Paris from the 12-16th September as part of the able bodied worlds. This integrated approach is great and makes the sport inclusive rather than divided. It also cements the status of para climbers as full time world class athletes alongside our able bodied counterparts. The exact schedule for Bercy is not clear yet however I know I have medical classification on the 11th so will be travelling out to Paris on the 10th.
Training has been going well and has been greatly assisted by my sponsors The Arch who have two excellent bouldering walls in London. I very much appreciate the training support they have offered me as well as the assistance in attending competitions. I have been working with Jimmie Gustin (again thanks to the Arch) and now have a full time training program that has been showing excellent results including my wins in the British para climbing series, where I flashed every route and boulder problem.
As the summer progresses my training is completely focused on the world championships which means I find myself currently in a two week power/strength phase. Lots of time on the steep training board working on powerful moves and some roof training alongside the usual fingerboarding seems to be the flavour of the month.
I’m hoping to get some more outdoor climbing in after the worlds including trips to font, Cornwall/Dartmoor and possibly a Yorkshire trip so watch this space for more outside news and updates. My project at Bonehill also still needs finishing!
More updates to follow about my training and work as the summer progresses.