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Half Marathon done!

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So just 4 weeks to go till D day and I did 15 miles today. The full distance is just over 26 miles, so I’m over half way. But I’m a bit anxious my legs told me to stop at 15 miles and I’m not sure where I’ll find another 10 miles from!

Fingers crossed the crowd will get me through 5 miles and 3 more weeks of training will see me right.

If you would like to donate and get in ahead of the rush, please click here

I would appreciate it more than you know.

Until next time..!


Half Marathon Done!

January Marathon Training report

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Just wanted to let you know the training is now well on the way for the Brighton Marathon on April 14th.

Actually getting a bit excited about my marathon t-shirt with all the Enhance shabizzle my nizzle logo on the side!

I ran 15k or 9.3 miles at the gym today. Need to get outside again but it’s run in the cold or watch Bargin Hunt at the gym. (No brainer really). Time 1 hour 24 minutes and my left nipple was actually bleeding by the end, chafing! No Pain no gain hey…! But 42k or 26.2 miles seems a long long way off!

Oh and my just giving page is here if you would like to donate: I’m aiming for £2000.00!

It’s the Final Countdown…

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T-Minus 5 days until i run my first ever half-marathon!!!!!

I think im ready, and am looking forward to running the furthest i have ever run in my entire life. (Reading that back to myself is a tad scary)

I am currently in the pre-race carbo loading stages, which i have to say is pretty fun, my new best friends, pasta and potatoes, are very kindly keeping me company this week, and I am also trying to keep myself hydrated as much as i can.

I got all my race running kit in the post this week which was very exciting!

I decided to try and encorporate a run on the way home from work today and decided to run the 3 and half miles i normally cycle from Hemel Station to my house. Not only was it up hill, but i also had my back pack with me, which at the time felt like i was carrying rocks. I now ache all over this evening, which means i will NOT be doing that again.

Would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has continued to support me, it does really help and pushes me to achieve this goal. I am almost at my target amount on my Just Giving page and would love to smash that target by Sunday, so please vist my page at: and give as much as you can.

I would also like to ask everyone who is friends with me on facebook to ‘like’ my Nike running status when i am running in the race on Sunday. I get a little cheer through my headphones when you do, and it really lifts me and puts a massive smile on my face.

The race is in Oxford and starts at 9.30am, i anticipate i will be running for a little over two hours, so everyone can have a little lie-in before they give me a little cheer 😀

Thanks again everyone and wish me luck – i’ll let you know how i get on!
Cat x

Paul Nicol standing next to the Mayor of Reading

Paul’s Blog – What a day!

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Hello blog readers. I am detracting from my usual blog spot this week, I wanted to share my day with you. Tuesday 18th September was pretty eventful for me and iCAN Experiences. You may recall me mentioning something about Reading Association for the Blind around 6 weeks ago.

Well after some postponing and rescheduling, I had been lined up to visit Reading Association for the Blind as a guest speaker on their open day. I set out on my journey at 08:45 catching a Taxi to the train station. The taxi was typically 5 minutes late, but we made it in good time for the train! At my change over point, I was informed that my connecting train had been delayed by 10 mins. “stay cool Rodney” I thought to myself. Thankfully the train was only 10 minutes late and I had planned in my usual 30 minutes of slack into a public transport journey, so no worries….much!

I arrived at Reading Association for the Blind at 10:30 and the Mayor of Reading along with Rob Wilson MP were due to turn up any minute in order to cut the tape on a brand spanking new Mini-
bus! I was given a cup of tea, made comfortable in an office whilst people hustled and bustled around me! I met a number of fantastic people from the Association, those that run it and members too. When I wasn’t talking to someone, I was running through my head what I was going to say as a guest speaker! Nervous? Me? Quite!

Then the ribbon on the bus was cut, pictures taken and I was guided into the main room where The Mayor of Reading made a short speech, then Rob Wilson MP. Then it was my turn, “Paul Nicol, founder of
iCAN Experiences and our guest speaker today”. I was handed the microphone and it was over to me! “Um, where do I start?” I asked “Stay cool Rodney!” It took me maybe 4-5 seconds to
actually engage brain and mouth at the same time and I began to talk! Of course, I had a rough idea of what I was going to say, but I had no notes, no way to read notes, so it was pretty much ad-lib!
On the whole, I kep the speech relatively quick, I had the Mayor of Reading at my side, so didn’t want to make her yawn, so I rattled through what I had to say. As I was nearing the end of my little talk, I completely lost my train of thought, not sure if it was excitement at coming to the end or nerves, but I stood there for 5 seconds looking blankly trying to recall what I was going to say! Then I stumbled for a few more seconds as I talked myself towards the end of my speech. I finished using the line “If life deals you Lemons, make Lemonade!”

It was over, the crowd chuckled and clapped as did the Mayor! Success! I then took the opportunity to talk to the Mayor before she was ushered off to talk to someone else. I then took the opportunity to talk to some of the members of Reading Association for the Blind. After about 30 mins of chatting and hob knobbing, I was on my way. It was 12:15 and I had a train to catch at 12:30 from Reading Station.

I was on a tight schedule to get to BBC Broadcasting house by 13:30! I got to Paddington station at 13:10 and was greeted by a member of staff with one of those beeping buggies that I personally hate, although the more I use them, the better they become! “Put your foot down drive, I’ve got to be at the BBC in 20 minutes!” I proffered. Give the man his due, he beeped the horn and I am sure we were going at top speed for the beeping buggy.

I hopped into a black cab, told the cabby where I needed to go along with the subtle hint “I need to be there by 13:30”, the driver proceeded to tell me that earlier that day it had taken 35 minutes! I had 15! I called the Beeb and told them I was on my way.

The driver got me there at around 13:32, fair play to black cab drivers, I shook the man’s hand and hopped out. I was greeted by a nice chap called James who got me signed in and it was his sole job to help people with disabilities within the BBC, I was impressed! The purpose of my visit was to appear on the BBC Radio 4 In Touch program which is a program covering topics and issues for visually impaired people.

I arrived and met Lee Kumutat, the producer of the show “How are you Paul? Feeling harassed?” “ever so slightly” was my response. I could breathe a sigh of relief that I had made it. We were straight into the studio and I was introduced to the other guests on the show, Steph Cutler and Wai-Man Leung. Steph is a personal development and training consultant who is visually impaired with a business called “Making Lemonade”, guess where I got my closing line for my Reading Association for the Blind speech. Wai-Man works for Action for Blind People and someone that had helped me in the early days of my Business Planning.

We recorded the show which would air in the evening at 20:40 and after taking a picture or 2, I was off in a Taxi to return home. I arrived home at just after 17:00 having not eaten anything but a Snickers. I was starving and pleased with the day’s work!

Please do share this with your friends, family and whomever else you think may be interested. Remember to follow us on Twitter @icanexperiences and become a fan on facebook at

Run Forrest Run!!!!

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Wow, where have i been!!!! Sorry guys, heres a long overdue update as to how ive been getting on.

Todays title comes from the various messages i have got from people and how much today reminded me of the film. It was basically me, minus the beard and possy of people in the background – dirty and wet!!

So started off training at the beginning of August and now have just a few weeks until race day! I have slowly clocked up the miles each week and did my longest ever run today – 12.1 miles (unless your a runner you wont understand how much that .1 of a mile is important).

I feel that i have got into my stride now and am enjoying running, and reaching the targets i set always makes me feel great.
As you all know, unless you didnt open your curtains today, is was pouring with ran. which was a new experience to say the least. Even though i invested in wearing a waterproof jacket, i got completely soaked all the way through – and it stopped raining within the last half a mile…..WTF!!

Some might think im mental for running in the pouring rain, but whats if its like that on race day? i hope its not lol as i would not like to repeat today, but at least i know its possible now. I also know that a least three drivers find it hil-arious to purposes drench runners while they drive past you through a massive puddle.

A lot of people have been supporting me, spesh mama and papa Newton 🙂 – and lots of others, including the nice ice-cream van driver who says he always sees me and the dog running together. Thank you to everyone who have taken an invested interest in what im doing and to everyone who has showed support.

I feel about 75%-80% ready for the race, so i stil got a bit of work to do – so please keep supporting me and visit my just giving page:

P.S – if you like my nike running status’ on facebook while im running i get a little chear through my headphones 😀

Paul Nicol at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Paul’s Blog – A small scuffle to get Access to Work!

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A quick recap on where we are. So far in my business start-up, I have contacted 3 experience operators, incorporated iCAN experiences LTd, setup a business bank account, signed up an accountant and set the wheels in motion for the website development.

These were the foundations for the business, there was still plenty to do, but this was the bread and butter. When I signed up my Web Developer, we had set a go live date as the 31st May, on hindsight, this wasn’t the best date to pick as in the run up to this date, I had booked a family holiday! As a result, the launch did in fact get delayed by 2 weeks, it was worth waiting for and taking that little longer to ensure that the site was absolutely right!

Over the next 2 months, I had a number of tasks to complete, I had to identify, contact, meet and write up my target of 25 activities. This was going to be the starting point for iCAN experiences, I knew that there were so many experiences and locations that I wanted to get onboard, but as with any business, you can’t enter the market as a fully fledged gift experience provider, you have to start as we did, with a targeted number of experiences in a specific geographical location and then build on this over time.

I included as part of the business plan a growth target and the aim is to offer 40 experiences nationwide by the end of our 2nd year of trading. It’s a tall order, but one I think is achievable if we continue at the current rate adding a new location or new experience every other week!

As someone with a disability, I have access to a government scheme called “Access to work”. The scheme is designed to help businesses with the additional costs that they may be subjected to should they employ someone with a disability. In my case, I need screen reading software to use a computer, this costs around £750. In addition to this, I need a scanner and some software so that I can scan and read printed text such as letters or printed documents. Finally, if your place of work is not located somewhere accessible via public transport, there may be a need for a taxi. Now, some employers may be happy to swallow the costs for this, but equally, some may not. The idea is that the scheme puts me as someone with a disability on an equal playing field as someone without a disability, thus reducing the possibility of potential employers thinking that it is going to cost them more money to employ me given my disability as opposed to some without a disability.

So, as I was starting my own business, I was having to travel to various locations around the country, meeting operators and viewing locations. It was clear that to do this, I was going to need to use a mixture of taxi’s and public transport. I reasoned that if I wasn’t blind that I would simply hop in a car and drive to said location, on that basis, my disability was leaving me at a disadvantage, I was having to pay for public transport and then a taxi to get me to my final destination. This was far more expensive than driving a car!

I got in touch with Access to work, “sorry, we don’t help with business start-up costs” was their initial response. I spent about an hour on the phone to the consultant, making my point, this wasn’t a “Start-up cost” per say, my point was that if I owned my own car, I would fully expect to have to pay for my fuel, tax, insurance etc in order to fulfil these meetings. It took a little persuasion, but eventually we agreed that I would cover the cost of the public transport and 25p for every mile travelled in a taxi, Access to work would then cover the remaining cost of the taxi journeys. This was fantastic news, Access to work didn’t seem to keen initially as the business wasn’t bringing in any money and nor did we have any contracts committing to purchase anything from us, as such, they were reticent to funding my travel. The moral of this story is that Access to Work can and will provide funding if your claim is genuine and your point is valid.

Once I had this funding in place, I was able to start contacting other experience operators to arrange meetings etc. I applied the same logic as per my original 3 operators, I was tackling the next 3 smallest continuing to learn, but able to talk knowledgably about my business and the

As part of signing up these experience operators, I have been incredibly lucky, I have taken part in a number of different experiences myself including an Aerobatic Flight in a PITTS Biplane with Alan Cassidy, a 160ft Bungee Jump, a High Speed ride in a Ferrari, White Water Rafting and probably most memorably, riding pillion on the back of a superbike with Ron Haslam taking me around Silverstone! I’ll tell you more about The superbike journey next week!

All of this sounds like fun and if I’m honest, it was! My wife has been incredibly supportive, as she goes off to work everyday and I’m off gallivanting around the country side! However, it’s not all fun, fun, fun, I have to work incredibly long hours, and most evenings are spent working on my computer and I often have to visit operators at the weekends. One thing is for sure, I love my job, its great being your own boss and it’s even better knowing that iCAN experiences is helping others to enjoy their life no matter what!

Please do share this with your friends, family and whomever else you think may be interested. Remember to follow us on Twitter @icanexperiences and become a fan on facebook at

Run-ing; the act of a person, animal, or thing that runs

By Disability, Lifestyle One Comment

Just to be clear on the above Post Title….I am the….PERSON ha!
So the end of last week i went up to 5 and a half miles on Sunday, which didnt feel too bad, but again it was very hot. Which i shouldn’t really complain about considering our typical English climate. The rest of last week also went well and my lovely new trainners worked a treat!!!
I had been told to get new trainners and im glad i took the advice, because no more blisters yay! I went to ‘Runners Need’ during the week and told them i needed new trainners as i was taking part in a half marathon. Just to set the scene, it was during the day and I dashed out of work, so was wearing black jeans and a tightish top. When i got in the shop, the woman said she would help and put some shoes on me, then she got me on the treadmill…which was in the middle of the shop, FUN! She set the pace quite high, buuuttt the benifit was, i got really good running shoes, even if i did arrive back at the office with a slightly sweaty forehead.

Im finding it hard to fit in running sessions this week, but i shall persist and am doing a 5K park run in St. Albans on Saturday, which should be good as i dont really train with other people. Dont want to freak out on race day! Also the picture is our lovely border collie, who runs with me and is a great running partner 🙂 A few more people have donated this week…..THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!!
If you havent please visit my page..

Olympic Celebrations!

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To round off what had been an immense two weeks of sport and celebration, I went to Hyde Park on Sunday for the BT London Live concert with Blur headlining.

Supporting them were Bombay Bicycle Club, New Order, and The Specials… The Specials were fab, and with the sun shining brightly over London, they got the party atmosphere well and truly warmed up! I just found that everyone in the park was buzzing and up for a fantastic time – I’ve been to other outside concerts, and of course every one is excited but Sunday had a different feel to it.  I really think this was the culmination of Olympic fever that had seeped its way into all of us (even the negative moaners who couldn’t wait for the Olympics to fail..!) ;  finally we had enjoyed two weeks of positivity , happiness, and best of all – remembering why Britain is so great! We were all proud to be British again and had taken ownership of the Union Jack in the way that other nations are keen to show off their flag.

Anyway, back to the concert…. the huge screen on stage was showing some of the last events of the Olympics – and we all got to cheer as we won another Gold in the Boxing.  Again, fab to feel that energy and so different to me screaming at people to win on the TV in my own living room! Also, 80k people singing the National Anthem was pretty special.

Being a wheelchair user, I always have to sit on the disabled platform which sometimes annoys me as I can’t go with a group of friends to a concert and often feel a bit conspicuous as its a colder atmosphere and if you want to dance, you feel a bit of a prat! However, at this concert, we sat next to two guys from London who I immediately clicked with – they truly made the day more memorable as we had such a laugh! (and them getting me drunk helped 😉  ). They knew some others up on the platform, so for the first time it felt like I was part of a group up there.  When Blur rocked Hyde Park with Parklife (couldn’t have been more apt eh?!), we all danced round together and I couldnt have cared less about anyone watching.

I will stay in touch with those guys and look forward to more nights out with them…. am also on the promise of them getting me tickets to the Emirates stadium… Apparently I will have to change my allegiance from Chelsea to Arsenal though….. we will see, but sure i can pretend for a day!!

My Facebook rant!

By Disability, Lifestyle One Comment


My Facebook rant!

This is the first bog I have ever written and I felt this was a good place to start. I recently put up a face book status on my personal facebook that went something like this:

Massive RANT: Why have the Olympics closing ceremony? The paralympics are on next week so why are they being treated differently? Why is it only being shown on C4 and not the BBC, why is everyone talking about the Olympics like it is over WHEN IT IS NOT!!

I received more feedback than I think I ever have before on a ‘statues’ regarding disability and equality, and believe me I post things on twitter and Facebook about these issues all the time.

I understand that channel four put in a higher bid than the BBC but come on, the bid that the BBC put in must have been an all-time low one. My issue with it being shown on C4 is that the advert, and I do like the wording ‘’Thanks’ for the warm up’. How ever it looks like one of C4’s typical documentaries regarding disability and nothing at all like the amazing build up we have had for the ‘NORMAL’ Olympics and one BBC commentator called it!

My question is in this day and age should it still be a ‘them and us’ affair? Should we be holding two separate events, or at the very least should we not be showing the Paralympics on the BBC and having one big closing ceremony?

And we haven’t even touched the subject of the deaf Olympics yet! More ranting to come I feel ;-)!

Blog 1 of ‘Coxy vrs Foxy’ aka The Brighton Marathon 2013

By Lifestyle, My story One Comment

Juice 107.2

Right here we go then, a blog in the build up to The Brighton Marathon 2013. You can see in my Bio bit that Im taking on my co-presenter Foxy in what will be her 2nd Brighton marathon and my first ever marathon.

So over the coming months and weeks I’l keep you updated on how the preperation is coming along right up until the actual event. It seems a few others are getting on the marathon band waggon and wil lbe blogging as well, so firstly good luck to you, but not heaps of luck just enough so you finish. We might have a little internal competiton happening. Although I’m not competitive, I just don’t like losing…

Training thus far: I’ve run 10k several times with a Personal Best of 52minutes and 36 seconds. Mr Mo Farah won gold in about 26 minutes, so if I get twice as first I’ll be entering the Rio Olympics in 4 years. Anyway after his antics recently, he’s my hero. I’m going to run this in honour of Mo.

That’s my intro then…

Of course I’m running for Enhance. Basically because I get a free kit out of it…