Bermuda's current Female Athlete of the Year and Paralympian Jessica Cooper Lewis has released her first Newsletter of 2021.
The newsletter starts with Lewis saying, “It has been awhile since I have written to you. Almost 10 months later and I am still in Bermuda. This is the longest time I have been on the island since moving to Canada to go to Brock in 2011.
With the start of 2021, we are refocusing and gearing ourselves up for (hopefully) what will be the Paralympic year with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games still set to go ahead as of right now. The games will certainly be scaled back with lots of different restrictions. One such restriction that has just been put in place by the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) is that all athletes will only be allowed to enter the athlete village 5-7 days prior to their competition start day and must leave within 2 days after their final competition day.
This is to keep the number of people down in the village at any one time. Athletes are also not going to be allowed to go sightseeing during their stay.
While we were excited to do some sightseeing in Tokyo we are lucky that we will be back there in 2022 for World Championships.
Hopefully, by that time we will be able to travel a bit easier.
We were also planning to have Tokyo as a full family trip this year but have decided against that.
For training, we are still plugging along in our endurance building block. I am definitely feeling stronger in my ability to push for a longer amount of time without needing to take a rest. As well as able to hold a higher pace for longer.
We will start transitioning into more speed/sprint style workouts in the next few weeks/months depending on how our racing season is going to play out. I am also still working with Sergio at Positive Results Gym for my weight training.
I did take a break from it at the end of December but I am looking forward to picking it back up after January 11th.
After looking back at my last newsletter I realized that I forgot to mention a few different things that took place near the end of the 2020 year. The first being the virtual race that I was a part of. In October 2020 I was asked to be a part of a relay team that would represent World Para Athletics to take part in the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 virtual race.
This is a worldwide event where people put together teams of up to 6 people who complete a marathon between them (42.2km). It was an absolute pleasure and honor to be on a team with para-athletes from Peru, Brazil, Japan, and 2 athletes from South Africa.
The race took place November 11th-22nd and was tracked through the ASICS runkeeper app. I completed a 5km portion of the race in a time of 16 mins 12 seconds. As a team, our total time was 3:05:33 which placed us 581st overall out of over 8,400 teams.
We also finished 5th overall in the mixed with wheelchair category. Certainly a highlight for me in 2020!
At the end of the year I was also voted in to join the Bermuda Paralympic Association Board as an athlete rep at their AGM. I am really excited to be filling this role and am grateful for everything the board is doing to help keep para-sport alive and moving forward here in Bermuda.