Page 3 Profile: Richard Whitehead, Paralympian


Tuesday 24 September 2013 00:09
Richard Whitehead, Paralympian
Richard Whitehead, Paralympian

Crikey! Just looking at his muscles is exhausting.

Wait until you hear what he’s been up to. At 5pm yesterday while you were on the sofa, he was finishing his 40th marathon in 40 days.

I planned to go for a run…

That attitude certainly wasn’t what made Richard a Paralympic gold medal winner. Of course, Richard was not content to rest on his laurels after receiving an MBE for his achievements at the 2012 Paralympics. Instead, he decided to run from John O’Groats to Land’s End by completing a marathon a day. So far he has raised £105,000 for charities Scope and Sarcoma UK.

Where is Richard from exactly, Mount Olympus?

Nottingham, actually. Richard, 37, was born without legs which made P.E. lessons at his primary school difficult, so his parents enrolled him in extracurricular gymnastic and swimming clubs. He used to dream of running as a child, but had to wait until he was 28 when prosthetics technology became advanced enough.

Running became his career in 2004. He now holds the world record for athletes with a double amputation in both the half and Olympic marathon distances. He also used to be an ice sledge hockey player and competed at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Turin. Needless to say, he’s been through a “good few” pairs of blades on his marathon.

Phew! Perhaps he could offer me some motivational advice?

The motto of his marathon is “celebrating life without limits”. Richard’s website usefully answers the question, “why would anyone run a marathon a day from John O’Groats to Land’s End?”. “The answer is simple,” it says, “to prove that any barrier can be overcome.”

After his 40-day slog, his words after he reached the finish line were: “I’m really tired. It has been really tough the last couple of days.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments