Woman with spina bifida achieves her Mud Runner dream with a Mountain Trike wheelchair

Woman with spina bifida achieves her Mud Runner dream

A woman with spina bifida has achieved her dream of becoming the first female to complete a Mud Runner challenge in a wheelchair. Sita Patel took part in the Mud Runner Classic at Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire on 18th October 2015, with her friends, to raise funds and awareness for the national charity Shine.

Sita Patel and team, Mud Runner Classic, 18 October 2015

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Photos by Peachy Snaps, courtesy of Ben Hawkes

A young woman from Northolt, London, has become the first female wheelchair-user in the UK to participate in the Mud Runner Classic, and only the second wheelchair user to participate.

Sita Patel, 34, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, took part in the 7-mile Mud Runner event at Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire on 18th October 2015, to raise funds and awareness for the national charity Shine.

Coinciding with the start of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Awareness Week (19-25 October), Sita took on her biggest challenge yet in an all-terrain wheelchair – the Mountain Trike.

Sita and her support team completed the 10k course in 3h 48m over an off-road terrain, deep mud, and muddy puddles definitely not designed for wheelchairs!

They completed against all odds and kept going even when it looked as if they were stuck and needed to be pulled out.

Sita, who works for the NHS and who’s nickname is ‘Rims’, decided to take on the challenge after seeing a youtube video of another wheelchair user doing a mud run with six friends.

So she recruited a team of friends to join her, and hired an all-terrain wheelchair from Mountain Trike, in what proved an exceptionally difficult event for all participants.

Sita’s support team were Vanessa Hobday, Candice Bryan, Ben Hawkes, Steve Fisher and Lisa Baglietto. Steve and Lisa stood in at last minute when other friends had to stand down for personal reasons.

A regular gym goer, Sita loves taking on new challenges. In the past, she has done a skydive, and a 26-mile trek through London for Shine, the charity that supports people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, complex and life-threatening conditions that affect mobility, coordination, communication and development.

Sita says: “I want to give back to Shine, and help other people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus to get the same support and opportunities as me. It was tough and that deep mud nearly defeated us, but the Mountain Trike proved an essential piece of kit and I couldn’t have done it without it and my incredible team members. It was actually great fun and I feel a huge sense of achievement to have completed the course.”

The team have already beaten their ambitious £1,000 target by raising £1,227 for the charity, with money still coming in.

To donate, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/RIMS/



  • Shine provides services for people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus via specialist professionals throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • Shine provides a vibrant presence and a strong voice for the community of around 75,000 individuals in the UK who either have these conditions, or who provide support, care and specialist services.

  • Hydrocephalus affects 1 in 1,000 babies born in the UK, often resulting from prematurity where the vulnerable infant brain is subject to bleeds and internal damage which can lead to hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can also occur at any time in life following illness or injury. Once an often fatal condition, hydrocephalus is now treated with a shunt, a surgically fitted device in the brain which drains away excess fluid.

  • Spina bifida is a Neural Tube Defect (NTD). It is the most commonly occurring serious birth defect that is compatible with life. As the baby’s neural tube (developing spinal cord) is forming a fault occurs which means it is left ‘open’. This occurs before day 28 of pregnancy which means it is essential that women take folic acid (which protects against such defects) ideally three months before conception, up until the 12th week of pregnancy.
  • The Mountain Trike is an off-road manual wheelchair design to enable access over various terrains and allow the rider freedom and independence to explore the outdoors.