Exclusive Interview: Jamie Gane – Adaptive Athlete & Disability Advocate
Confined to a wheelchair, Jamie Gane first learned the importance of diversity and inclusion in school. He is now a celebrated endurance athlete and public speaker, specialising in perseverance, disabilities, sport, and LGBTQ+ inclusion.
He has been described as “inspiring” and “thought-provoking” by previous clients, a reflection of Jamie’s visible impact at corporate events. With his firm belief that we are all capable of overcoming personal hurdles, he unlocks peoples’ true potential through his personal story of determination.
In our latest exclusive interview, we sat down with the inspiring Jamie Gane who shared his story of amputation and his successful career in endurance athletics.
Q: What do diversity and inclusion mean to you & why is it important?
“Diversity and inclusivity are incredibly important. For someone who has been in a wheelchair for the majority of my life, who didn’t have access to proper schooling; my school was not accessible. It was not very inviting for my disability by any means.
“I like to ensure that everybody has access to everything that they possibly can. We are all people; we are all humans who should be included in every single sense of the word. Whatever that means to you. And being an adaptive athlete, [diversity and inclusion] means that I can go and run a marathon – I can run 50 miles – but I need to adapt things.
“The fact that I need to adapt things does not mean I shouldn’t be included in any of the events. Diversity and inclusion mean access for everybody, to every kind of thing that they really want to access.”
Q: Your ambition is to be a role model to other young people who are in similar situations; how important is representation & what motivates you to be a role model for young people?
“I think being a role model is incredibly important. And as a teacher myself, I see the huge impact that role models have on younger people – it’s something that I love doing.
“I love [being a role model] through my actions, through my words, through sharing my story. Growing up, I don’t really think that I had much of a role model at all. I was the only disabled person in my school. I was the only person who I knew that had a disability.
“I didn’t have anybody to look up to. And I think, if I’d had [a role model] as a young person, my progression, and what I was able to achieve, I would have been able to do that a lot quicker.
“So I thought, you know what? I’m going to fill that gap! I’m going to be that guy who can inspire, who can motivate and be involved in people’s lives in order to make it better for them.”
Q: You have completed multiple endurance races – how do you build the mental resilience for endurance sport?
“To be honest, I went into endurance racing with not a lot of preparation at all. At my first marathon, I had never run 10 miles before. So, I just went in and thought, you know what? I’m just going to jump at it. All I wanted was to get to the end of it.
“I think for me, having something at the end to say, ‘you’ve got a medal’, or ‘at the end of this, you can go and have some really tasty food, or you can go to a bar’, it really pushes me.
“They’re a little bit addictive, once you’ve done one, you think, ‘did I do as well as I could have done…? Probably not. Okay, Let’s keep going!’.
“And before you know it, you’ve done 50 odd endurance races. You traveled all the way across the world. You’re ranked #3 in the world!”
Q: How do you maintain a healthy mindset and stay motivated during times of hardship?
“Having a healthy mindset is really important to me, and I do that through a couple of things.
“The first is being really true to my own values. I spent a lot of time figuring out what my values were, and honesty and integrity are certainly a big part of that. If I’m not being honest with myself with how I feel about something, then I’m certainly not going to go full steam ahead.
“Having been through a lot in my own personal history – a lot of surgery, a lot of different setbacks – I just keep going. If I get up in the morning, I’ve got a plan, and I just stick to that plan.
“And, you know, if I’m having a bit of a tough day, and I think, ‘actually, I don’t really want to go out for this run’, I know that worst-case scenario is I just run that five miles, 10 miles, whatever it is, and then I get back, and can do whatever I want.
“I give myself that space to feel, however, I want to feel, and having a plan just helps me go!”
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