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Whitehead to run 977 miles in 40 days

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Richard Whitehead

15 August 2013

Recently crowned T42 200m world champion Richard Whitehead (coach: Keith Antoine/Liz Yelling) has begun his biggest challenge yet, as the 37 year old sets his sights on running 40 marathons in 40 days.

“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. I’m living proof that having a disability shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals.

“I’m a strong believer in living a life without limits, what my 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.”

Whitehead began his journey two days ago, and will run a staggering 977 miles in his bid to become the first double amputee to run the length of the country. The Nottingham-based athlete admits that the challenge doesn't come without pain.

"I'm putting away between 5-6000 calories a day. I run through my backside, my quads and my hamstrings, but my upper body also works really hard and my hips get smashed," Whitehead told the BBC.

However, Whitehead who produced one of the moments of last summer’s Paralympic Games winning T42 200m gold believes that his inspiration for the challenge will give him the motivation to complete what is undoubtedly the greatest feat of his career.

“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 me. Hopefully I can pass on a message of hope through my dedication to sport and be an inspiration to all.

“My 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 my mind for about five years.”

Support Richard on his journey via www.richardwhiteheadrunsbritain.com as he bids to raise £1 million for charity. You can also follow him on twitter @marathonchamp