Richard Whitehead

Track and Field

“Marathon running is about enriching your life and, for some, creating a new start to your life or finding a new purpose.”

Sprinter.  Marathon Runner.  Medalist.  Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).  Member UKA Athletics Commission. Public Speaker. Paralympian. 

 

Richard Whitehead was born with a congenital condition which left him as a double through-knee amputee.  As a young child, his parents saw the power of sport as an opportunity to test his potential, gain confidence and change people’s perceptions.  Swimming, gymnastics and ice-sledge hockey were early favorites and provided Richard with a sense of purpose, community and camaraderie.  But more than participate, Richard wanted to compete.  Enter sprinting and long-distance running.

Using basic prosthetic legs, he began running on treadmills in his local gym, before he built up enough confidence to brave the open roads. Richard was up for a challenge and entered the New York Marathon, representing Great Britain in 2004 wearing his first Össur prosthetics (Flex-Run)

“Running became my career in 2004 and it has blossomed from there. I love running. But I could only dream of being able to run when I was younger. There weren’t the prosthetics or the funding mechanism for me to run until I was 28.”

Today, as a member of Team Össur, his accomplishments are many.  Sporting Össur’s Flex-Run Blade, Richard is a Paralympic gold medalist, IPC European Championship gold medalist and IPC World Championship gold medalist.  He is a world record holder in full and half marathons and one of the world’s best sprinters – and the current Paralympic, World and European Champion in the T42 200m.  Nicknamed ‘Richard the Lionheart,’ his powerful movements and determination on the field leave adults and children alike wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

“Many people say that I am an inspiration. All I can say is that I am an athlete, who has been given the opportunity to run.”

Achievements and Titles

 

World Finals
  • 2012 London 200m – 24.38s (WR)
Paralympic Games
  • Silver medal – second place, 2016 Rio, 100 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2016 Rio, 200 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2012 London, 200 m T42
IPC World Championships
  • Gold medal – first place, 2011 Christchurch, 200 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2013 Lyon, 200 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2015 Doha, 200 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2017 London, 200 m T42
  • Bronze medal – third place, 2017 London, 100 m T42
IPC European Championships
  • Gold medal – first place, 2012 Stadskanaal, 200 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2016 Grosseto, 100 m T42
  • Gold medal – first place, 2016 Grosseto, 200 m T42
  • Bronze medal – third place, 2012 Stadskanaal, 100 m T42

Facts

Nationality

Great Britain

Competitive Class

T61

Amputation

Above the knee

Main Events

100m, 200m