LIFE has presented Mat Earley with a few hurdles. He doesn’t complain. Instead, he’s determined to tackle all challenges that come his way.
He's now a regular at the weekly 5km Taree parkrun each Saturday morning.
In May, Mat decided to try parkrun for the first time.
Mat was born with spina bifida and is in a wheelchair.
In just four months Mat has smashed his first parkrun time of 49 minutes 41 seconds by 10 minutes.
His PB now sits at 39 minutes and one second.
Mat’s progress has not gone unnoticed.
Inspired, Brooke Hosgood gave Mat her free entry pass into the Forster Running Festival.
Brooke had won her free entry from another run and already had her running festival entry sorted.
A keen long distance runner, the 10-year-old has completed 56 parkruns.
“This little kid is a machine,” Mat wrote on Facebook.
“She smashes the 5km every Saturday and has apparently smashed some other runs too.
“She wanted to give me her free entry into the 5km at the Forster Running festival which she won from another run.”
Mat completed the festival’s Forster Surf and Sport 5km run in 35 minutes and 43 seconds.
“It was an awesome day with fantastic people,” he said.
In the same run, Brooke achieved a new personal best of 21 minutes and 8 seconds to be the first female over the line. She was placed 14th overall.
Mat said, following his first fun run experience he would definitely like to try other events.
“I want to keep going and improving - that's really the only goal,” he said.
“I also think it's good to get out there and do these things to show the rest of the world that no matter what the obstacles in my way might be, I'm still getting out there and living life to the fullest potential.
“If me living my life the way I do can inspire others to get out there and do things - it's a good thing.”
Mat said a number of of people approached him at the Forster event to say it was ”inspirational” to see him complete the run.
“To me, I'm just living my life but I can see how from an outsider's perspective it could be something to look up to.”
The parkrun will be on again next Saturday from 8am at Endeavour Place.
To register visit http://www.parkrun.com.au/taree/