16 October 2013
After running 40 marathons in 40 days across the UK, Richard Whitehead (coach: Keith Antoine/Liz Yelling) was voted the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Athlete of the Month for September by the public.
Whitehead undertook his epic challenge from 13 August - 23 September, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities Sarcoma UK and Scope. Whitehead was supported by members of the public during his journey, as numerous supporters joined him for 5km, 10km or entire marathons along the way. Fellow British Paralympic athletes Dan Greaves (Jim Edwards) and Scott Moorhouse (Dan Pfaff) joined Richard along the way, as did fellow sportswomen Rebecca Adlington, Keri-Ann Payne and Sarah Storey.
He crossed the finish line less than two months after retaining his T42 200m world title at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.
"When finishing my epic 977-mile run from John O'Groats to Land's End, I was overwhelmed with emotion for the great feat that I had achieved," Whitehead told Paralympic.org.
"This was an event with no gold medals, but breaking down new barriers in sport, and providing hope, opportunity and inspiration for others was what my main goal was.
"The toughest part of the journey was the massive hills that I was having to climb day after day from around Day 30," Whitehead said. "Also, despite getting the big blisters, I had to keep going, 26.2 miles every day."
Of his award, Whitehead said: "It means a lot to be recognised by the IPC and by the public that have given their time to vote for me."
Whitehead beat five other finalists for IPC Athlete of the Month award, including: Australian triathlete Bill Chaffey, Brazilian football 5-a-side player Jefferson da Conceicao Goncalves, Russian sitting volleyball player Tatiana Ivanova, South African wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole and Ukrainian wheelchair dancer Illona Slugovyna.