Mel Nicholls – Paralympian & Adventurer
London and Rio Paralympian Mel Nicholls lives adventure and is riding the road to Tokyo 2020
A series of life changing strokes resulting in heart surgery changed Mel’s life as an independent fit and healthy young woman. A life devoted to horses, a rider, mountain biker and all round adrenaline junkie, Mel was left unable to walk and use much of the left side of her body following her third stroke in 2008.
…Fast forward four years after watching the Beijing Paralympics from her hospital bed, Mel raced in front of an 80,000 home crowd and the rest of the world, in wheelchair racing at the London 2012 Paralympics. Just 15 months after taking up the sport.
Mel went on as part of the GB Athletics team to represent her country for the next 4 years, achieving track world records, European and World major medal success and becoming a Paralympic finalist at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, where Mel moved from her track career to turn her focus to endurance.
Mel’s wheelchair racing career continues in marathon distances, where she has already achieved numerous top 8 finishes within the best in the world including a Seville marathon win and pushing sub 2 hours in both London and Berlin marathons since starting her marathon career late 2016.
Always a keen cyclist, a natural way of cross training for Mel was to use a handbike during her track athletics racing. Unable to bike race professionally while on the GB team for wheelchair racing, focusing on her Rio sprint and middle distances, Mel had set her sights on moving into cycling when the time was right. This time was following the Rio Paralaymic games, the end of one four year Paralympic cycle and at the beginning of the next.
Mel moved her training to endurance and alongside her marathon racing began to train and work with her new cycling performance coach with her goal of being selected onto the GB paracycling team. In May 2017, Mel earned her team place selection and now a Great Britain Paralympic Programme Rider for paracyling, working towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Great Britain Para Athlete Mel has her sights firmly on a bright future, combining her love for her sport with her passion of adventure. Mel’s mottoes of Dream Big and Live an Adventure are no truer than her real life adventure tales as she continues to push her own boundaries and challenge perceptions of what is possible. Not content to leave her adrenaline-fuelled, outdoor world in her past life, Mel reconnected with her adventure spirit following dreams made and sparks lit from her hospital bed. Her first solo trip to the Isle of Arran, drawn by the unknown and the what ifs, captured by the feeling of belonging, Mel’s spiritual home remains the birthplace of her discovering what is possible and rediscovering her adventure.
Mel is an athlete and adventurer, motivational speaker and aspiring writer. With her zest for life and always with a smile on her face, Mel hopes to inspire others to reach for the top of their own mountains and believe that anything is possible. Mel’s workplace is the great outdoors and brings a unique take on adventure with disability, the female role and as a sportswoman. Her love of adventure and wild places shine through in her passion for storytelling in her blogs and writings.
With some exciting project work due to launch in 2018, Mel hopes to show how everyone can Dream Big.