Spinal surgery woman takes on the jungle

Jen Adair
Jen Adair
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jen Adair is living proof that sheer determination can sometimes result in the seemingly impossible.

Two years ago when the 34-year-old underwent spinal surgery she never dreamt she would be well enough to complete an 80-mile challenge of a lifetime in the jungle in the Amazon which saw her run through swamps and rivers, tackle tough terrain and even come face-to-face with wildlife.

Jen Adair

Jen Adair

Now she is back home she hopes her amazing tale of courage will help inspire others who are suffering from scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, which put pressure on her internal organs and left her in a lot of pain, and help them realise there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I never thought I would be able to do this. ‘If you had said to me Jen what do you think about doing this Jungle Marathon?’ before I had my operation I would have said no way.”

She added: “It’s amazing what you can do really.”

The 34-year-old, originally from Harrogate, has recently returned from Brazil where she took part in the Jungle Marathon. Miss Adair, a fashion sales manager, had to deal with steep climbs and scorching temperatures and even had to run on her own in the dark.

Jen Adair

Jen Adair

Miss Adair first noticed something was wrong when she was a teenager and she suffered discomfort around one of her shoulder blades. She was later diagnosed with scoliosis and by the age of 18 she was taking over twenty painkillers a day to cope with the pain.

When Miss Adair realised her scoliosis was getting worse she was advised the only option was surgery and two years ago underwent an operation. Says she has always been told she cannot do things because of her condition so that spurred her on to enter the race.

Miss Adair, a fashion sales manager, had hoped to complete six stages of the 160-mile event. She had feared her back, which despite a successful operation, can still cause her pain, may hold her back in the race but instead she was prevented from completing her dream after picking up a bug which caused severe sickness.

There was a four-stage and six-stage race and she managed to complete five stages but as she was not able to complete all six stages organisers recorded her as completing the four-stage race.

“Mentally and physically its the hardest thing I have ever done.

“Not only was I up against 99 per cent humidity and 40 degree heat, I had to carry all my kit and food for the week on my already delicate back.

“I had to climb over tree stumps, wade through water, proper river crossings where you had to wade across.

“At first I found it really odd, especially when I heard my first jaguar, I was on my own and it was really weird but you just got used to random noises in the jungle.”

Miss Adair is already considering another challenge and next year plans to tackle the Bob Graham Round, a fell running challenge in the Lake District.

She hopes her jungle mission will inspire others and was accompanied by a film crew for a documentary called Breathe which will be used to tell her amazing story. Visit www.breathedocumentary.com