The Journey: Rising Above It And Making A Positive Impact
Words & Photos: James Rudge
James Rudge is a member of the Great Britain Paraclimbing Team and an Ellis Brigham Ambassador. He is no stranger to adversity and life’s challenges and on one day in 2018, aged only 25, he was to have an experience that would test his resolve more than ever and later be used to create opportunities for others who maybe lack the confidence to really embrace life.
I was born without the lower part of my left arm and always found motivation in challenging myself and my body. After practicing parkour for a lot of my life, I decided to start climbing, around about 4 years ago.
James getting his thrill with parkour
I got involved in the Paraclimbing scene and was encouraged by my friend Tom (who I would later go on to set up a charity with) to start attending the Paraclimbing competitions, full of inspiring athletes of various adaptations.
2018 did not end well for me. I was the victim of an unprovoked assault that left me with multiple teeth missing and severe dental damage. This left me feeling a real sense of anger and it threatened to affect my mental state. Nonetheless, I tried to stay positive and the year that followed turned out to be quite something!
In 2019, I was invited to be part of the GB Paraclimbing Team, a truly humbling and special moment for me and I have not looked back since. That same year, I also launched Bristol Inclusive Thrill Seekers, a charity that sets out to make adventure sports inclusive to anyone to take part in.
Competing for the GB Paraclimbing Team
Encouraging people to take an interest in adventure sports has become a real passion of mine and it is something that people of any background can take positivity and development from. I have been blown away by the determination of athletes with impairments and I want to use activities like climbing to help people to find confidence.
Bristol Inclusive Thrill Seekers has its doors open to anyone. We want to help people who feel like they don’t have the appropriate platform to get involved in activities like this, feel welcome and thrilled by the challenges that come with it.
In an era where screens are taking over, it is so important that people find ways to feel good about adventure & outdoor-related activities; and we want to generate some real excitement about participation in these sports.
James bouldering outdoors
For some, it could be a case of just getting out of the house or a chance to chat with our amazing team of volunteers; for others, they may want to work towards becoming involved in the Paraclimbing scene.
I have been a thrill-seeker all my life and I want to help as many people as possible find thrills of their own. Hopefully in turn we can make climbing the most inclusive sport of them all!