A YOUNG athlete has taken the top spot in the county at his sport, despite spending months on crutches due to a crippling medical condition.

Lennon McKenzie, a student at New Rickstones Academy, refused to let chronic pain, respiratory and immune conditions stand in the way of his sporting success.

Despite the barriers, he recently attended the Essex Schools Time Trials where he placed first in Essex for his time of 2:07.3 in the 800m.

Lennon said it has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but he still has to be careful and know his limits.

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He added: “My conditions make it harder to compete at the same level as other athletes. I have to have lots of physio and put in a lot of work with my coaches to adapt the way I train. I listen to my body and push myself forward when I can.

“I was quite unwell for some time and in and out of hospital. I spent nine months on crutches because of my conditions.

“I have always been passionate about athletics and determined to achieve my goals, so I will keep on competing.”

Lennie, who trains with Braintree District Athletic Club, returned to the sport in March 2020 after his length battle.

More recently he spent two weeks at Great Ormond Street Hospital having physiotherapy.

He said: “It is unfathomable how I’m able to achieve this. My parents say to just imagine what I would be achieving without my conditions.

“But athletics is a stress relief for me. My school is very supportive, especially during PE lessons or when I have competitions coming up. They adapt my lessons and come to competitions to support me.

“I want to continue competing until I reach a national level.”

Head of year ten and PE teacher, Craig Ewing said: "To get to where Lennon is is amazing.

“The way he carries himself in lessons and is always focused on what he can achieve makes him a role model to his peers. His mind is always on being able to achieve whatever he can. They look up to him and aspire to be like him.”