The Important

What’s important?
Who’s to say,
I guess it changes
day by day.

We make our world revolve around things,
like work and money and being in a hurry.
These things always seem like they cannot wait
and we’re in a constant state of worry
that we’re going to be late.

For me,
number seven will have to wait
and there’s very little time until what could be number eight,
but I know these aren’t the biggest things on my plate.

What’s great about us,
is how we don’t make a fuss
in our darkest moments,
we can rearrange our focus,
happy to share
our greatest gifts
and put in a shift
for the sake of others.
Not just for family and friends –
strangers, foreigners, neighbours, dangers – the list never ends.

Caring is the important.

Putting others up
in the air, with love.
Way above
our own self worth.
That’s what we are for and that’s when we are more
than just a person.

We’re a people and this is our purpose.

Making it up

In the weeks and months to come,
will we reflect on the things we’ve done
since when we were young?
So often
the world feels like it’s on fire,
like life seems to conspire
against our very hopes and dreams,
drying up streams and polluting our means.
With an infinity of time ahead,
who are we to say what will happen
or what does actually matter.
It’s time to block out all the chatter
and the clitter clatter.
Every breath is a scoop from life’s lake,
how many breaths are left is anyone’s take,
savour each breath you hold in your chest
without worrying about what comes next.

Gotta Get Through This

As the lead of the World Para-Athletics Athlete Advisory Group, I regularly take part in Global Athlete Rep calls with the IPC and the Athlete Council. The latest call took place yesterday, with updates and discussions focusing on the issues arising from the Corona Virus Pandemic.

The loud and clear message is that, at the present moment, Tokyo 2020 is going ahead as planned and all efforts are geared towards making this happen. There are no other plans apart from Plan A – which is for the games to run this summer – There aren’t any contingency plans or any deadlines in place for final decisions. This does seem a little concerning given the current situation which is currently a global crisis with many countries in lock down. What I would say is that the stance of the IOC and Japanese Government reflects how difficult, indeed how almost impossible it would be to delay or postpone the games, and how catastrophic it would be to cancel them.

I can say that there are a lot of people are working very hard and discussions are taking place regularly between the IPC and all stakeholders. This situation though is unprecedented, very complex and is changing all the time. Nobody knows the answers to all the questions and any answers we do have are likely to go out of date very quickly.

It is obviously a frustrating time for everyone involved in professional sport, particularly for Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Olympics and Paralympics don’t come round often and for many athletes this is the most important year of their career and life, to have preparations compromised just a few months before the games is hard to process.

I’m no different, I plan every year with my team very carefully and in fine detail. I was all set and revved up to start my season in Dubai last weekend so it’s a bit strange have to back off training and to think that I might not compete until June or July and may have to find creative ways train within the confines of social distancing and self isolation. However I do think we have to realise that this crisis goes beyond sport and is ultimately about protecting the human race from a nasty virus that has the potential to kill a lot of people. All athletes are in the same boat, I’m trying to re-frame it in a positive way and use this experience as a way to develop my resilience and come up with creative ways to stay in shape and get prepared whilst being at home – this could help me in years to come.

There are many profound and difficult challenges to overcome if the games are to be held this summer, not least around qualification and classification. It’s impossible to have definitive solutions while the crisis is still escalating and evolving but I think the authorities should be prepared for all eventualities, and to have not even considered a Plan B in the event of postponement or cancellation is a bit surreal to me and shows a lack of foresight, responsibility and leadership – it’s like the IOC and Japanese Government have their heads in the sand and don’t want to comprehend something that is unthinkable to them.

The outbreak  is showing signs of slowing in Asia but the rest of the world is battling to prevent and contain the virus, being weeks and possibly months from the peak of the outbreak. It doesn’t really seem particularly fair to hold a global competition under those circumstances.

As athletes, all we can do is be empathetic, respectful and responsible, preparing safely as best we can for whenever the time may come that we can compete.

Any decisions going forward will be made by the IOC and Japanese Government. I do sincerely hope we overcome the outbreak and that that games can go ahead as planned, but more so I hope any decisions are, as promised, taken with health, well-being, safety and fairness as the main concerns, and not simply economics.

Me and My Wife

When we met each other
We didn’t run for cover
There was so much to discover
We were all over each other
We got each other
We get each other
We pet each other
We let each other
get in, under the skin
We put each other in a spin
With our touch
With our looks
We’re alive together
So much more than lovers
We’re friends
Til the end
Willing to spend
Our time
Sharing views
Thinking as one
Blinking as one
Knowing we’re not done
We are the sun
To each other
Warming
Lighting
Exciting
We are in Love.

 

 

 

 

Speedflex to Hold Fundraising Challenge in Support of Stephen Miller’s Tokyo 2020 Campaign

 

stephenmiller_1_originalDo you like working out and keeping fit? Like a challenge? Speedflex Jesmond are looking for 80 to 100 people to sign up to complete a challenge of doing 50,000 clean and presses in a day to help Paralympian Stephen Miller achieve his dream of competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The challenge will take place on Friday the 13th December at the Speedflex Jesmond centre in the Fleming Business Centre, Jesmond between 6.30am and 7pm.

Participants will work in pairs to complete as many clean and presses as possible in a 45-minute session on the revolutionary Speedflex machines, with the aim of hitting a minimum 500 reps in a session and a cumulative total of 50,000 by 7pm.

Participants can choose what time they would like to complete their part of the challenge, it’s free to take part, all that is asked is to raise a minimum £50 in sponsorship that will go towards local Paralympian Stephen Miller’s campaign to get into the GB team for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics and get on the podium.

The money raised will help with the cost of competitions, training camps and equipment as Miller looks to qualify for his 7th Paralympics. The funds could be even more vital as Stephen faces the prospect of losing his Lottery funding support.

The campaign website can be found here:
https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/tokyo-2020-vision/

This is a great opportunity to be part of an exciting challenge and push your physical limits as well as experiencing the revolutionary Speedflex training system if you haven’t already. Speedflex machines provide a way of training that is suitable for all ages and abilities, it has low impact on joints, is very adaptable and results in little to no muscle soreness.

Stephen said “Training at Speedflex was instrumental in my recovery from total hip replacement surgery in 2012. The low impact and high intensity resistance training was ideal for my rehab and I was able to get back into full training just 6 months after surgery, since then it has been an integral part of my training and played an important part in my Bronze medal winning performance in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.”

“The staff and clients at Speedflex have always given me huge support and I’m delighted that they are opening up their studio for this challenge to help me on my journey to Tokyo 2020, it’s an amazing gesture. This is a tough challenge, but I always say nothing worth doing in life is easy and I’m sure participants will get a lot of satisfaction from taking part, as well as burning off calories before the Christmas season.”

“This is ideal for anyone who likes a challenge and enjoys pushing their body to the limit, I know I do! I would be so grateful to everyone that gets involved. In taking part you are joining the ever-expanding Team Miller and becoming part of history. Book your place and take part in a very different challenge.”

To book your place contact Speedflex on 0800 5433630 or contact Stephen by emailing stephen@smilethroughsport.com

Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE Targets Tokyo 2020 after Missing Out on World Championships

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE Targets Tokyo 2020 after Missing Out on World Championships

For the first time in 24 years, Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE from Cramlington has missed out on selection for a Great Britain & NI team. The team to compete at the World Para Athletics Championships being held in Dubai later this year was announced on Wednesday 18th September, and for the first time in over two decades Stephen Miller’s name was not on the list.

Competition was fierce for the 40 spots available in the reduced-size team being taken to Dubai. It is the first major championship in his 24-year career in which he will not be competing. Miller has competed at the previous 7 World Championships, which were held every 4 years until 2011 when they moved to being held biannually. His first appearance was all the way back in 1998 in Birmingham. Miller’s medal haul at World Championships is 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals.

Despite this disappointing setback, Miller’s sights are still focussed on competing in his 7th Paralympics in Tokyo next year.

In 2019, the 39-year-old had his best start to a season for many years, throwing 30.69m at the Dubai Grand Prix in February to win Silver. However, a shoulder injury hampered him for most of the summer season and the Gateshead Harrier struggled to build on his promising start. In August there were signs of recovery with two performances over 31 metres. Unfortunately, that was not enough to gain selection and he will now take a break to recover from a long and frustrating season before starting his preparations for next year’s challenge and ensure he’s in the best shape possible for Tokyo 2020.

Stephen is fully committed to the sport and is looking for sponsorship to help him achieve his dream of competing at Tokyo 2020, he needs more support than ever before – if you would like to help, please visit the website below.

The campaign website can be found here:
https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/tokyo-2020-vision/

Stephen said “Team selection is a complex and stressful process for everyone involved. I’ve been through it many times and it doesn’t get any easier. It’s a strange feeling to miss out on a championship for the first time in my career but I’ve been lucky enough to have been selected many times in the past. I’d like to congratulate all the athletes that have been selected, there’s no better feeling than to represent your country.”

“Selection was particularly tough this year given the small size of the team and the fact that my event is always very competitive. I wish the team all the best and although I’m gutted that I won’t be there, I’ll be supporting as much as I can. The plan was to compete at the worlds ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics next year but nothing in life is certain and we will now sit down to work out where we can improve over the winter to be in the team next year and get my body fully healthy so I can give it my best shot for Tokyo 2020.”

“I still believe I can win medals at the highest level and I will use this as motivation to prove that going forward. I’d like to thank wholeheartedly all the people that have supported me this year – my coach, my family, my friends, my support team and my sponsors – your support means so much to me.”

“I’ve come up a little short of my goal this year, which hurts me a lot, but I will learn from it and move on to the next challenge, embracing it fully.”

More Information

For more information, contact Stephen on 07812083615 or stephen@smilethroughsport.com

Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE to Lead a Guinness World Record Attempt for the Biggest Line of Moving Wheelchair Users in Aid of Beach Access North East Charity

On Wednesday the 25th of September, local charity Beach Access North East are organising an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest moving line of people in wheelchairs, the record currently stands at 352 which was set in the USA.

The attempt will take place along the Whitley Bay promenade, starting in front of the Spanish City at 11.30am. The line will be led by local Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE who is the Honorary President of the charity. Anybody can take part in the record attempt as long as they have a wheelchair, the charity would like as many people as possible to come along to support and help set a record that could stand for a long time, while also raising awareness of the work the charity does in helping wheelchair users access the region’s beaches.

Beach Access North East (BANE) is a charity run by volunteers, it provides a free service so that wheelchair users can access the region’s beaches with their families and friends. Since the charity formed in April 2017 with the aim of making the North East’s beaches accessible to everyone, there has been a steady influx of people whom have used the services and demand is growing.

The charity originally set up to provide beach wheelchairs and other equipment at three of the region’s most popular beaches: Tynemouth Longsands, Whitley Bay and Blyth South Beach. It is now set to extend the services to South Shields and Seaton Carew in Hartlepool. Specially designed wheelchairs provided by the charity allow individuals with disabilities to access beaches.

The special event on Wednesday the 25th September on the Links in front of the Spanish City will highlight the importance of wheelchair access. If you are able to come and join the attempt to beat the record of 352 wheelchair users moving in a line, please see the details below.

DETAILS OF THE EVENT – WHITLEY BAY in front of the SPANISH CITY NE26 1BG

11 am – in-line and ready to move by 11.30am

For more information please phone 0300 999 4444

Find us on Facebook – GUINESS WORLD RECORD LONGEST MOVING LINE OF WHEELCHAIRS

ANYONE CAN TAKE PART- ALL WELCOME (so long as you have a wheelchair), Stephen Miller MBE will lead the line.

 

For more information on how to book the chairs or become a volunteer or for more information on the record attempt or the charity itself please contact us on 0300 999 4444. Find us on Facebook or email info@beachaccessnortheast.org

Pledge Sport Campaign to Secure Fresh Sponsorship in Preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE from Cramlington is looking for fresh sponsorship and support to help him add to his extensive medal collection at the Tokyo Paralympics next summer.

Miller, 39, has dedicated more than half his life to the sport he loves and has represented GB in every major championship since 1995, winning over 25 international medals in athletics seated throws events. He worked his way back from total hip replacement surgery after London 2012 to compete and win Bronze at his 6th Paralympics in Rio.

Stephen is currently on the World Class Performance Programme and receives financial support to help cover core training and living costs. However, there are many costs that build up through being a dedicated full-time athlete that aren’t covered. More specifically Stephen is looking for help with the cost of a new electric wheelchair and a new vehicle, both of which are essential to his training and daily life and badly need replacing.

Finding financial sponsors is becoming increasingly difficult in the world of sport, particularly for Paralympians. While Stephen has some fantastically loyal sponsors that provide services and products in kind and has been lucky enough to have had financial sponsorship in the past, he has decided to team up with Pledge Sport to appeal to sponsors and supporters to help him on his journey to Tokyo 2020.

The campaign website can be found here:
https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/tokyo-2020-vision/

Anybody can donate but Stephen is looking primarily for any businesses and organisations to support him – Anybody is welcome in Team Miller!

Through his sporting achievements Stephen has inspired many people and through his voluntary work has aimed to help others through coaching and mentoring and has supported charities through patron/ambassador roles. Now he is asking for a little help as he looks to round off his incredible athletics career in Tokyo.

Stephen said “Anybody that knows me will know I’ve never been one to ask for help, I’m incredibly stubborn and fiercely independent. However, as I begin my journey towards what could be my last Club Throw at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020, I’m appealing for a bit of extra support to help with certain costs for things that make a massive impact on my training and my life. Any support I receive will be hugely appreciated and I promise I will give it my best shot to be in the team for Tokyo and win a medal.”

For more information, contact Stephen on 07749114807 or info@smilethroughsport.com
Pledge Sport – richard@pledgesport.org