Paralympic hero finishes marathon journey

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)COMPLETING one marathon is exerting enough for most athletes, but for Richard Whitehead, Nottingham’s Paralympic hero, 26 miles is just a drop in the ocean.

The 37-year-old completed his 40th marathon in 40 days today at 5pm after running from John O’Groats to Lands End.

He set off from the chilly far north of Scotland on August 13 and finally ran through cheering crowds, 1,040 miles later, in the far west of Cornwall yesterday.

Richard has been raising money for two charities close to his heart – Scope and Sarcoma UK – through sponsorship during his intense running challenge and so far has raised over £100,000 for the two causes.

He said the last month and a half had been at times very difficult and at others immensely uplifting.

“It has been tough,” said Richard as he prepared to complete the last leg of the challenge from Helston to Lands’ End.

“Tough not just for myself, but for everybody who has been involved with it with me. richard-whitehead-pic-getty-images-635125215-273429

“I really want to see the end of the tunnel now, and be at the finish line, because it has been six weeks of full-on running.

“But it has been epic too. My high points have been crossing the finish line every day, the outstanding scenery we have seen along the way, such as the beautiful views around Scotland, and the people I’ve met.

“But I’ve found that every day is just so tough that you don’t think about all the wonderful memories you’ve made until you’ve stopped running.”

Richard said that every day he had encountered barriers he needed to overcome, from suffering with a cold to having to deal with blisters on his stumps.

He said that his main aim for the 40 marathons in 40 days challenge was for it to leave a legacy of sport in communities.

He added: “I’ve been really lucky because I’ve had a strong team around me which has supported me all along and the support from the people of Nottingham and throughout the East Midlands has been really amazing.

“The plan now is to continue the legacy which this challenge will hopefully create, by doing things like encouraging schools in the East Midlands to have a Richard Whitehead running day – which could involve children running around the playground for a mile or baking cakes to raise money for the two charities.

article-2196730-14C86131000005DC-559_634x484“It could even just be making a small donation for their pocket money to Scope or Sarcoma UK.”

Richard, who won the 200 metres gold medal at last year’s Paralympics, added that his immediate plans after the 40 marathons were to have a rest and go on holiday with his fiancee.

“The support I’ve received has been second to none and I’m really grateful to everyone who has turned out at all the different stages to cheer me along,” he added.

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profile_01George M
Fitness Instructor
Certified Personal Trainer by I.S.S.A., CPR

Source: Nottingham Post

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Categories: Runners, Sports

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