A SUCCESSFUL Paralympian has swapped the athletics track for the world of podcasts.

Maria Lyle is not hanging up her running spikes but has teamed up with journalist Gary Heatly to create This Ability Podcast.

The monthly show sees the duo chat with a variety of guests about what it is like living with a disability and shines a light on some amazing achievements.

Maria, who has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, said: “It is something that I have never done before.

“Gary approached me with the idea of doing it and highlighting how disabled people live their lives and to make it come across that a disability is not such a negative thing. It is something new and I have really enjoyed it and learning from Gary.”

The third episode of the podcast is being recorded this month.

Each episode has been created during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, with Gary, Maria and their guests in separate locations and speaking over Zoom.

The first episode featured Maria, who lives in Dunbar, and Gary, who is based in Edinburgh, discussing their own personal experiences of living with cerebral palsy.

Then, last month, the hosts spoke to actress Amy Conachan, who has appeared in more than 200 episodes of Hollyoaks as Courtney Campbell.

Former Dunbar Grammar School pupil Maria said: “She was really nice and friendly. It was interesting to hear her story about acting and her journey to television, which has been very successful, and how she deals with her disability.”

Maria’s love of athletics began when she was at Dunbar Primary School, with her mum, Susan, taking a PE lesson.

She previously said: “One day, when I was in about primary four, we had a multi-stage fitness bleep test-type thing to do.

“I wasn’t any good at anything and everything and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all – even though my mum was the teacher. Running at that stage usually ended with me falling over 90 per cent of the time and cutting my knees.

“But I thought I would have a go and basically I was the last pupil standing at the end of the test.”

East Lothian Courier:

Since then, she has won medals at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and two gold medals at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai last year, in the T35 100m and 200m.

The 20-year-old was due to represent Great Britain at the Paralympics in Tokyo this month before the international event was put back a year due to the coronavirus.

She said it was nice to speak to people outside the sporting world about their lives and was looking forward to welcoming more guests onto the podcast.

East Lothian Courier:

Gary, 37, who was previously editor of The SCRUM Magazine, praised Maria’s efforts on the new podcast. He said: “She has been absolutely brilliant.

“The first podcast was just me and her having a chat about our own experiences. We are 17 years apart so we have different experiences.”

To listen to the podcast, go to play.acast.com/s/this-ability-podcast