In 2014, Jill Wheatley was living and working in Germany as a high school health and physical education teacher. On a day that began like any other, while Jill was teaching her students how to connect bat to ball, a fluke accident would result in a traumatic brain injury and a 70% loss of vision, she was given just three days to live.
Surrounded by the Colorado Rockies, Jill drew inspiration from the mountains that called out to her as she lay in her hospital bed trying to recover. Overcoming mental anguish and a loss of hope, Jill moved her mindset to one of growth. After finally being allowed to leave the hospital, she headed straight for the mountains and into a challenge as she navigated the trails, in an unfamiliar body, towards her independence.
In her own words …
“Growing up in Northern Ontario, Canada, famous for its lakes and camping spots, my family were very active, and we spent a lot of time outdoors. Sport was a natural part of my childhood and after finishing high school, uncertain of what I wanted to do, I ended up enrolling in physical education.”
Everyone seemed to be heading off to university and so that was the route I chose, I figured that being able to play sports, whilst earning a degree was a pretty good deal. Eventually, I added psychology into the mix and finished my studies but once I had my degree, I still felt lost and so I decided to apply for teacher’s college in Canada.
A year later and I had earned my qualification, but there was a serious lack of job opportunities. I got on my mountain bike and headed out west, off into the unknown. Pretty much as soon as I arrived, I received a phone call and was offered a teaching position back in Ontario, which was great! However, turning back left me feeling a little apprehensive as the mountains were calling out to me a bit more than the classroom was. I made the decision to take the one-year contract, which led me to a two-year contract, teaching at the Canadian international school in Singapore.
“Teaching kids from all over the world, fostered my desire for travel and adventure. With generous holiday leave, I was able to explore most of South East Asia and New Zealand, but the island life proved to be, not for me. I decided to keep on moving, embracing teaching in Russia, Switzerland and Germany, and enjoying the Alps, skiing, mountain biking and running, I never made my way back to Canada.”
Support the whole team who put all this together
This is premium stuff! Subscribe for ONLY 99p for ALL online content!
SubscribeGet right to the heart of ultra-running featuring interviews and podcasts with world class athletes, extraordinary race directors, ultra-running coaches, nutritional experts and in depth race reviews from around the globe!
Get your access now