Interview: Riding beyond limits with Josh Patterson

Josh Patterson has been in the limelight for a long time, following his time on hit show Made in Chelsea. But now, Josh is making headlines for completely different reasons.

In 2017, just after the birth of his daughter, India, Josh found out that his best friend, Ben, had been in a motorcycle accident, which paralysed him.

Instead of letting the experience defeat him, Ben asked Josh to complete the Berlin Marathon with him, which they did, almost exactly a year after the accident.

And they did it in wheelchairs.

Now, Josh is trying to set a new world record for the fastest ever time from John O’Groats to Land’s End in a wheelchair.

We caught up with Josh to chat about his latest challenge and his drive to help others succeed.

You completed the Berlin Marathon in a wheelchair last year, why did you and Ben choose to do this?

Ben is one of the most selfless individuals I know and the marathon wasn’t just about him and his recovery. He wanted to make sure that anyone who has had a life-changing experience can be better prepared for it and be inspired. For him, I think this challenge was just to showcase what the possibilities are.

What was the marathon like? Did it meet your expectations? 

It was tough, but it was a really good insight for me.

I used to commute to work in my wheelchair and I really did it because I wanted to get a better sense of what life was like for Ben and other wheelchair users.

You get such an understanding of how difficult it is to get into stations, zebra crossings and cars not stopping for you, and little things like kerbs and pathways just aren’t sufficient enough.

From a training point of view, it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before, so physically, it was daunting. I was pretty nervous. But, it was just such a wonderful experience and I really did get a lot from it. 

You’re now on your journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End – how are you feeling about the challenge?

I’m so scared of doing this challenge, because it doesn’t matter how much I train or who I have around me, there’s nothing that can prepare you for what we’re taking on.

There are a hundred and one reasons why we won’t achieve this. Some of them are out of our hands, but it’s exciting. When the news broke that we were doing it, the great thing was the response we’ve had from so many people. Those messages are such a motivation.

What are you looking forward to most about it?

Just getting on with it, really. It’s been so many months of training. What I’m really looking forward to is people seeing the reality of what it is that we’re doing. The ultimate reason we’re doing this is to raise awareness, and the more people that see this, hopefully, the more we can break a social barrier down and people will become more aware and more supportive. 

What do you hope people take away from seeing you do this journey?

Just show your vulnerability and be proud of it, because that’s what this challenge is all about. I’m terrified and this is going to push me further mentally and physically than I’ve ever been before in my life. I hope that people can take inspiration from it.

You’ve been really open and honest about your mental health in the past – why do you think it’s so important for people with influence, like yourself, to be so vocal?

I probably don’t really look like someone who would be affected by mental illness and that’s even more reason to be vocal.

I’m turning 30 this year, I’m a father, I know who I am and I think by showing that vulnerability, I see strength in it.

I think the only way we can kill this stigma and start to enable people to have better lives is to start talking about it and not making it just a campaign, but talking about it frequently, so that it does become part of our reality.

What advice would you give anyone who has been inspired by your and Ben’s story?

Don’t just look at the story and be inspired. Be inspired to start your own story. 

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