Athletic inspiration for Brentwood Park pupils

Para-athlete Reece Langdon spoke to Brentwood Park Primary School pupils about his journey. Picture: SUPPLIED

Brentwood Park Primary School’s pupils received a close look into what it takes to be a para-athlete from running star Reece Langdon.

The T38 para world record holder over 5000m visited the school on Friday 28 July as part of the Victorian Institute of Sport’s (VIS) ‘Be Fit. Be Well’ program, which has been running for almost 30 years and encourages primary and secondary school students to stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle.

In December 2002, at the age of 6, Langdon started getting severe headaches, so his parents took him to hospital.

He soon lost his ability to talk and walk and became almost completely paralysed.

They discovered he had severe streptococcal which led to a virus, which attacked his cerebellum and was later diagnosed with cerebellitis.

Langdon gradually relearnt how to walk and talk, but was left with permanent ataxia, coordination impairment, temperature regulation issues, and general weakness on the left side of his body.

Despite his health issues, he still loved to run and running two kilometres to the letterbox at his family’s farm in Goulburn was how he began his journey in athletics.

Langdon always trained and competed with able-bodied athletes, until he was encouraged by close friends to go through the para-athlete classification process.

He started the process in 2021 and in February 2022, he was officially classified a T38 para-athlete, immediately setting Australian open T38 800m and 1500m records.

Langdon headlined the National Championships in April 2023, racing to a new T38 para world record over 5000m – obliterating the previous mark of 15:00.42 by Canada’s Nate Riech, rewriting history

with his 14:47.56 performance in the 5000m B race.

In June 2023 he was named in his first Australian team, where he competed at the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, returning with a silver medal.

VIS community engagement co-ordinator Amy McMahon said the ‘Be Fit. Be Well’ program featured interactive and inspirational presentations from elite athletes across a number of fields and disciplines.

“The program helps to promote physical activity and its links to wellbeing,” she said.

“Key topics are tailored for specific school year levels and include motivation, resilience, goal setting, coping with pressure, health and nutrition.”