It's not easy to define Richard Whitehead... he's a World Record holder in full and half marathons, but he's also one of the world's best sprinters – and the current Paralympic and World Champion in the T42 200m. Many people say Richard is an inspiration. Richard says that he's simply an athlete, who has been given the opportunity to run.
As a double leg amputee, life is full of challenges, but that's never got in Richard Whitehead's way… Since that first marathon in 2004, Richard has run more than twenty 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.
Most recently, Richard won Gold in the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the T42 200m, he was second last after the first 100m, but then surged through the field to become the Paralympic Champion with an incredible burst of speed.
But aspirations are bigger than just winning races. Richard Whitehead 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. He does this again and again on some of the world's biggest stages.
Richard lives in Nottingham and is coached by Olympic marathon runner Liz Yelling and Keith Antoine. 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.
Through his numerous world records and medals, Richard Whitehead has cemented his stature as one of the most versatile and outstanding Paralympic athletes in the world. His challenge for the future is to keep proving to the world that whatever life's challenges are, nothing is impossible, he appears to be on track.