Against All Odds: Simon Williams’ Inspirational Story of Perseverance

Simon Williams Finishing Manchester Hyrox Event

Simon Williams, an Absolute Performance Ambassador, is a dedicated Hyrox athlete and fitness coach, passionately devoted to guiding individuals toward greater health, fitness, and confidence, thereby empowering them to transform their lives. Yet, Simon’s achievements have been forged through adversity. His remarkable journey is a testament to his unbreakable character and spirit. As he fearlessly shares his story, he hopes to inspire others to never give up.

It’s taken a bit of soul-searching to share my journey with you.

In 2008, my life took a drastic turn when I fell ill with pneumonia. What followed was a downward spiral of health issues, culminating in a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in May of that year.

Before 2008, I was on the cusp of qualifying for Team GB as a 400m sprinter. But with the onset of CFS, my activity levels plummeted. I then began experiencing excruciating pain and numbness in my left leg and foot. It got to the point where I was in extreme discomfort even when sitting, let alone standing. Eventually, I found myself reliant on a wheelchair for mobility.

Now, I had to come to terms with falling ill, but I wasn’t prepared for what was to unfold over the next year.

After months of debilitating pain and losing my mobility, the situation worsened. In 2009, I underwent emergency surgery on my lower back (L5-S1). Despite the hope it would alleviate my pain, the procedure didn’t go as planned. A nerve was crushed, and there had been significant damage.

Not only did I now have to come to terms with a disability, but I also developed an illness called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This resulted in extreme pain, with sensation loss in my left leg and foot. I was starting to lose circulation to my left leg, and the possibility of lower leg amputation loomed in 2012.

Nerve damage and the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome left me facing the possibility of never walking again, let alone ever pursuing my athletic dreams.

Mentally and physically, I was wrecked.

For years, I was confined to a wheelchair, relying on crutches and mobility aids just to navigate daily life. I lost my independence, my confidence, and my business. Coping with chronic pain, I found myself consuming a cocktail of medications daily, which not only numbed the physical but also the emotional toll of my condition. As a result, my weight ballooned to 114kg.

After years of battling depression, a chance encounter with Danielle Pain (The Pain Clinic – Telehealth Consultations) in 2013 marked a turning point in my journey. Through dedicated rehabilitation and unwavering determination, I began to rebuild myself—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Simon Williams playing wheelchair bowls

The drive in me was always there, I just needed to find it again.

Fast forward to 2024, and I’m competing in the sport of Hyrox, representing my country on the world stage. A decade ago, that would have seemed ludicrous, but everything happens for a reason.

My journey serves as a testament to the power of perseverance. Despite facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, I refused to give up.

Today, I’ve reclaimed my competitive spirit and, more importantly, regained control of my life. The truth is: never give up, even when you feel yourself staring at a black hole. It may take time, but allow yourself that time.

Simon Williams with his trophy at Manchester hyrox

Stay connected by bookmarking this blog for Simon’s next chapter, where he delves into the thrilling world of Hyrox training and shares the inspiring story behind launching his coaching business.

Follow Simon on Instagram @swfitnessandcoaching

and The Pain Clinic Oxford @thepainclinicoxford

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