Friday, November 2, 2012
Paralympic star Whitehead set for marathon across UK
October 30 - Britain's double leg-amputee athlete Richard Whitehead, who took gold in the 200 metre T42 final at the London 2012 Paralympics, plans to run from John O'Groats to Land's End to raise money for cancer charities. The 36-year-old from Nottingham shot to prominence when he claimed a memorable victory in the 200m in the Olympic Stadium in a world record of 24.38sec, adding the Paralympic title to the world title he won last year. But despite his stellar late career as a sprinter, Whitehead is actually predominantly a marathon runner with a best time of 2 hours 42min 52sec over 26.2 miles. He is now aiming to become the first double leg amputee to run from John O'Groats to Land's End not only raise thousands of pounds for cancer charities in memory of his friend, Simon Mellows, who died in 2005 after contracting a secondary cancer, but also to inspire people to take up sport. "I'm a marathon runner by trade and the marathon, as an event, is accessible for anybody to watch," Whitehead told BBC Sport. "It's on an open road and you can just come down and be part of it, so I felt a challenge like John O'Groats to Land's End would engage people up and down the country about what sport's all about, and maybe be an opportunity for them to run a little bit with me. "It's great being on television and in the media but meeting people is something you can't put a value on and that's when you can have that inspiration and positive impact on people's lives."