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Libby’s Burning Ambition

To most people, completing a fire walk is a massive, and somewhat terrifying ordeal.

However, it’s just one thing in a long list of daring achievements that blind Loughborough-based sprinter Libby Clegg has accomplished over the course of her impressive career. 

Here she discusses her latest challenge, as well as fears, motherhood, disability and her inspiring attitude to life.

In her 32 years, Libby Clegg been crowned Paralympic Champion – twice, been given an MBE, gained a podium position on ITV’s Dancing On Ice, and become a proud Mother to her three-year-old son Edward.

Picture: ITV

More recently, Libby even walked on fire, as part of her new role as a community fundraiser for Vista, the nation’s sight loss charity – raising £7,000 in the process.

It’s enough to make even the most ambitious adrenaline junkie feel like a bit of an underachiever!

So are there any challenges that Libby would be reluctant to take on?

“I keep getting asked to do a skydive, but I’m a bit fearful of heights, so that’s one thing I’m not 100 per cent sure on!”, she told Pukaar.

“I’m quite a resilient person, so I kind of forget that some of the things I’ve done have been quite challenging”, she continued.

“I like trying new things and challenging myself in new ways. It’s a great way to develop yourself and find out more about yourself. I’d encourage everyone to try it”.

Picture: Vista

When asked about the most challenging thing she’s taken on (so far), Libby sites her 2020 appearance on ‘Dancing on Ice’, as the thing which has pushed her to her limits, both mentally and physically.

She was the show’s first blind contestant, finishing in a very respectable third place alongside her partner Mark Hanretty.

“It looks really glamorous on television, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes into the training for that”, she said of the experience. 

“When you get to weak seven or eight, you’re kind of ready for the show to be over, even though you’re really enjoying it still”.

Despite being registered as blind, it’s Libby’s vision, her positive outlook, and her huge appetite for life which is a big part of the reason why she’s respected and adored within the sporting community and beyond.

However she struggles with the idea of being seen as an ‘inspiration’, she revealed.

“I’m just a normal person who’s had some pretty incredible opportunities” said Libby, who was given an MBE back in 2017, for her services to athletics and charity.

“If people get inspiration from me that’s great, but I’m just being me.”

“I definitely feel that having a visual impairment has shaped who I am”, she added.

“Because I can’t see very well myself, a lot of people tend to put barriers up, and I like to prove people wrong!”

Libby has a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease, giving her only slight peripheral vision in her left eye.

In her life, she says that being a professional athlete and also a Mum, are the two things that she is most proud of.

Picture: Libby Clegg

“Edward definitely inspires me to be the best version of myself, especially when I’m having a down day”, she said.

As for her latest role as an ambassador for Vista, Libby says that it’s a great fit for her, and a real honour.

“For me, it’s a great opportunity to give back to the blind community”, she said.

“It’s really nice to be in a normal job, where I get to meet pretty incredible people, and hear their stories, which enables me to fundraise, raise awareness and be a really good ambassador”.

However, despite having a ‘normal job’, Libby has no plans to switch off the competitive drive, which is central to her character.

She’s recently joined the British para-cycling team, and has plans to compete in the world championships in October.

“It’s very different running next to a guide runner then being on a tandem going at 50 miles an hour,” she said of the endeavour.

“It’s scary, but all good fun”! 

To find out more about Vista, or to donate to Libby’s firewalk, visit:

By Louise Steel

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