British double leg amputee and Paralympic Gold medallist, Richard Whitehead, is running a marathon a day this summer from John O'Groats to Land's End, championed by Virgin Media, in order to raise money for Sarcoma UK and Scope.
The run starts on August 13th and finishes around September 23rd – by which time Richard will have covered a staggering 977 miles (1572km)
Mission Accomplished!Total Raised So Far: £196,800
From John O’Groats to Land's End, championed by Virgin Media. Follow the route on Twitter @MarathonChamp.
Why would anyone run a marathon a day from John O’Groats to Land’s End? The answer is simple – to prove that any barrier can be overcome. Richard is living proof that having a disability shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals. He is a strong believer in living a life without limits, what his life has been about is accepting who you are and making the most of it. Once you've done that, you can push the barriers as far as they’ll go.
Winning a Gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics in London was a stepping stone on this mission and the Run is the next stage for him. Hopefully he can pass on a message of hope through his dedication to sport and be an inspiration to all. His inspiration is a man called Terry Fox. Terry was an amputee and sarcoma cancer sufferer who attempted to run the breadth of Canada before his death at the age of 22. Sadly he never completed his challenge. The idea of a run the length of Britain came from him and has been in Richard's mind for about five years.
The thing that makes the marathon special is that the sponsors are not doing it for a personal benefit but for the good of others. Nowadays you can't watch a sports competition without an advertisement about top betting sites that make profit from financing the event. Because of these companies, many people are willing to wager and lose their cash instead of giving it to charity. That is not what sports is about as athletes like Richard prove that competitions can inspire people to overcome the difficulties of life and help others.
What makes a challenge?
Now he has run over half the miles on this epic challenge, he wanted to give an insight into some of the people he spent his days with on the event. He has an absolutely fantastic team behind him without whom the challenge simply would not be possible.
The event team is from Threshold Sports, and they have been phenomenal. Every item of every day is planned to a tee, from checking the next day’s route every evening, to making sure each hotel is booked, to driving the support vehicles and looking after the public runners – their energy and effort has been incredible every single day. Big shout out to Amanda, Alex, Emma and Cassie. His physios Mitch and Tim and the medical team have been brilliant throughout yhis trip making sure Richard eats the 6,000 calories per day he needs, and that he has enough water and vitamins to ensure he doesn’t get dehydrated throughout the day. The docs have been on hand to sort out the blisters which are now very much on the mend.
Then there are the guys at Ossur (makers of his prosthetics), who have been with him throughout to ensure his prosthetic legs are fully functional and are there to step in if anything goes wrong. Big thanks to Dave Baird, the event photographer, who is always around to document this amazing event. There is also the media team who ensure the story is told in the media throughout the challenge. You may have spotted Richard on BBC Breakfast the other day!
Start and Finish Information
Q: When will I receive specific start and finish location information? You will receive a final communication from the organizers approximately three weeks prior to the date of the stage you are running (once within this three week period, they will endeavour to turn all information around asap). It will include details about the Start and Finish location (where appropriate) along with any other information that you need to know. In some instances the Start location does not lend itself for a large group to gather. Where this is the case they have identified a suitable safe meeting point with some parking and you will be met and taken from here to the Start. Q: What will happen at the Finish? 5k and 10k runners will stop and be transported back to the meet point/start area. Marathon runners will also be transported back to the Start or are free to make their own arrangements from the stage Finish. Q: How will I find the team at the Start? Don’t worry, the actual Start and the event team will be easy to spot when you get there! They’ll also give you a contact number for a member of the team in the final communication. Q: When do I need to arrive at the Start? The time that they need you to be at the start will be sent out in the final communication to you a few weeks out from the event. Q: Will there be parking and toilets available at the Start and Finish? Where possible, they have identified parking and access to toilets at the meet/start area. However in some locations this has not been possible and you may have to pay for parking. Specific details will be provided in the final communication. Q: Is there anywhere I can store my bag or belongings during the event? There will be limited room for you to store a small rucksack size bag in one of the event vehicles. This will not be available for you to access until the end of your run. This is done at your own risk (see Runner Rules & Regulations 3.4).
Q: Is it possible to have a copy of the exact route?
Unfortunately the organizers are unable to release the planned route before the day.
Q: Can you provide any training advice?
Organizers are unable to provide specific training plans. Please note the required running pace, detailed in the Runner Rules & Regulations 2.4 and 2.5. Please train to be able to complete your chosen distance at this pace. There are multiple sites online that offer clear guidance and advice around training for a 5km, 10km, and marathon distance.
Q: What if I get injured or can’t maintain the required running pace?
Don’t worry if you get injured and can’t continue, you will be able to join the event vehicle and be seen by a medic who will assess the best course of action for you. In terms of keeping to the required running pace, please refer to the Runner Rules & Regulations 2.4 and 2.5.
Q: Can I run next to and talk to Richard?
Unfortunately due to the nature of the challenge that Richard is undertaking no runners are able to run to the side, or in front of Richard. This is also due to the running gait that Richard runs with. Public runners will be required to run in pairs with the front pair running at least 1m behind Richard. Runners will also be required to wear high-vis vests which will be provided on the day. In terms of keeping to the required running pace, please refer to the Runner Rules & Regulations 2.4 and 2.5.
On the DayQ: What should I bring with me on the day?
Please ensure that you bring with you anything essential that you may require during the day. Below is a list of items that the organizers highly recommend you bring:
- Usual running clothing
- Wet weather clothing
- Any personal medication
- Sun protection cream
- Blister plasters
- Water bottle
- Warm jacket/jumper and trousers for the finish
- Change of shoes (in case your trainers are wet)
- Mobile phone
*The organizers are unable to provide food and beverages for public runners so please make sure that you bring appropriate amounts of drinks and snacks with you. There will be limited water available but please ensure you bring enough with you for your needs.
Q: What time will each stage finish? As you can imagine it is very hard to be able to predict how fast Richard will run each day and so the organizers are unable to give you an indication of a finish time. However they are aiming for Richard to start running at 10am each morning. Q: What race support will there be? There will be a dedicated support vehicle and team for public runners running with Richard. They will be ready to help answer any questions you may have on the day. Q: Will there be any stops on route? There are no specific planned stops on route currently. The organizers will be in constant communication with Richard with regards to his health and wellbeing. Stops will be taken when Richard requires them and all runners on the road with him will also stop when he does.
Q: Who do I contact if I have any problems on the day / pre event?
Contact details for a member of the events team will be given out in the final communication to you a few weeks out from the event.
Q: Who do I contact if any of my personal information changes?
Please inform Ele Dalton with any changes in your contact details or anything else that you feel the organizers need to know.
Q: When do I need to have raised the recommended sponsorship by?
Please refer to the Runner Rules and Regulations.