FIFTEEN years ago Kate Rowe took up exercise for the first time in her life — now the wheelchair-user is to take on yet another half marathon.

Miss Rowe, who suffers from spina bifida, will compete in her third Reading half- marathon next month to raise funds for the Jumbulance Trust — a charity that has given her the freedom to travel.

“I never really did very much exercise and I just tried things to see if they could work,” said Miss Rowe, a newly-qualified personal trainer, of Otterbourne Road, Compton.

“I’m a lot fitter than I was, a lot healthier than I was, I certainly would encourage other people to do the same.”

Miss Rowe, who has also taken part in the Gosport half-marathon, will compete in the 13.1 mile course on April 1.

Miss Rowe was born with the congenital defect of the spine, which means she is wheelchair-bound and relies on the full-time care of parents Ruby and Richard.

The 46-year-old took up exercise after a physiotherapist suggested she go to the gym to help strengthen a problem shoulder, and she has never looked back.

She now Miss hopes to run exercise classes for other wheelchair users.

The Jumbulance Trust organises trips for people will illness or disability allowing them to go on holidays in the UK and abroad, thanks to help from volunteer carers using special ‘jumbulances’.

These are a cross between a coach and an ambulance, and are equipped with medical and disabled facilities including stretchers, a resuscitation unit and disabled toilet.

Miss Rowe has been on trips to Italy, Germany, north Scotland and Wales with the charity.

“It means you can go to places and go on the holidays that you couldn’t because of carers and doctors,” said Miss Rowe.

“Also it means that your own carers can have a holiday themselves knowing that you are cared for.”

She trains at the River Park Leisure Centre gym, and in the summer months can be found training at the Winchester University athletics track at Bar End.

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