Cometh the hour, cometh the man
As a double leg amputee, life is full of challenges, but that's never got in Richard Whitehead's way. Richard always dreamt of being able to run a marathon and in January 2004, he set himself the mother of all challenges.
With the dream of being able to run, he entered the New York Marathon. When he sent off the application form he had zero running experience, he had never even run a single mile, never mind twenty-six.
Richard's training started that February. He began running mainly on treadmills in his local gym and then built up enough confidence to brave the open roads. Mainly running at night so as not to attract any attention, he began to experience the freedom of running outside. He was hooked.
The New York Marathon in November 2004 was a life defining experience for Richard. The support he received from fellow runners and spectators took him to a different level - he finished his first marathon in 5 hours 18 minutes with thousands of people urging him to the finish line.
Richard lives in Nottingham and is coached by marathon runner Liz Yelling. He worked for Nottingham City Council as an Inclusive Multi-skill Officer, developing and mentoring teachers and students in the fundamentals of multi-skill activities prior to becoming a full time athlete at the start of 2011.
Richard wants to make a difference. To prove that even though he has a disability, he has overcome barriers that have been put in front of him.
Since that first marathon in 2004 Richard has run more than a dozen marathons, not to mention competing at the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games in sledge hockey. In 2009, he became the first leg amputee (single or double) to break the three hour mark for a marathon, a world record he has now lowered to 2 hours, 42.54 minutes. He also broke the half marathon world record with an incredible run of 1 hour, 14.14 minutes.
Many people say Richard is an inspiration. Richard says that he's simply an athlete, who has been given the opportunity to run.
His challenge for 2011 is to lower his best times in all events as he continues his journey towards success. With new World Record times in the 200m at the Diamond League Crystal Palace and 400m at the Paralympic World Cup, he appears to be on track.
|Amputation||Bilateral, through-knee amputee|
|Main Events||10k, Half Marathon, Marathon, Ultra Marathon, 100 m, 200m|
Paralympic Games, London, UK
Athletics European Championship Stadskanaal - 24:93 Gold medal for 200m (World Record Jun 2012)
|2011||IPC Athletics World Championships, New Zealand - Gold medal for 200m, Championship Record (25.88)|
|2010||Wokingham Half Marathon – 01:17:45 World Record (Feb 2010)|
|Reading Half Marathon – 01:14:59 World Record (Mar 2010)|
|Rotterdam Marathon – 02:45:47 World Record (April 2010)|
|2009||Chicago Marathon – 02:50:38 NEW WORLD RECORD (11.10.09)|
|Bristol Half Marathon – 01:18:47 NEW WORLD RECORD|
|Maratona Di Roma – 02:56:45 WORLD RECORD|
|Bath Half Marathon – 01:19:00 WORLD RECORD|
|2008||Beirut Marathon – 03:14:00|
|New York Marathon – 03:17:00|
|London Marathon – 03:22:23|
|Georgia Marathon, Atlanta – 03:36:21|
|Maratona di Roma – 03:38:58|
|Kilimanjaro Marathon – 3:58:54|
|Adidas Half Marathon, Silverstone – 01:30:09|
|Robin Hood Half Marathon – 01:37:00|
|Leicester Half Marathon – 01:30:21|
|San Diego Half Marathon – 01:44:58|
|Southwell 10K – 00:36:52|
|Three Villages 10K – 00:39:27|
|Holme Pierremont 5 miles – 00:38:21|
Do you have an inspirational quote or motto that you use?
"Mine is 'Cometh the hour cometh the man" I have this tattooed on my right arm."
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
"Always enjoy what you do a smile will get you a mile! Or 26.2 lol!"
Do you have any pre-event superstitions?
"I have lucky under pants and always have the same pre comp routine."
What is on your iPod when you are training?
"Swedish house mafia
Lots of up beat tunes changes every month"
Tell us something we'd be surprised to know about you?
Who has been the biggest supporter in your career?
"Parents and Local Community."
Who first got you interested in your sport and who influenced you to take up a competitive sport?
"I was introduced to sport through my parents seeing the "power of sport" being a great tool to break down barriers in society, I saw the "Terry Fox Story" on tv in the late 80's and that gave me the inspiration to run when the time was right."
Who has been your toughest opponent and why?
"The marathon course! It's something that pulls you in to run faster at the event, but as soon as you over step the mark it's something that you can hate with a passion!!
24 done and counting!"
What is your ultimate sporting ambition?
"Be the best I can be"
Who in your opinion is the greatest athlete ever? / Do you have an idol for your sport?
"There is no single athlete!! Lots of athletes have skills that's makes them great. Success is not just about medals for me its about the overall impact that you've had!! Medals are just rewards"
How has Össur contributed to your success?
"By providing me with the products and services that are number one in all areas, for me that is important!
Ossur also care about the customers they support and has an excellent after care policy."
What are your favorite Össur products and why?
"Flex-runs for sprinting and road running. The Rheos are my day legs."