As one of the most recognisable Paralympians in British history, Richard Whitehead’s influence extends across generations. After a highly successful period at the Paralympics, he has since dedicated his career to raising awareness for disabilities, through his motivational speaking and as a Patron of multiple charities.
Richard has set many world records over the course of his career, a testament to his formidable athletic ability. From marathons to sprinting events, it’s safe to say that anyone who tries to outrun him has pretty big prosthetic legs to fill.
Whether he is teaching young athletes how to swim or completing 40 marathons in 40 days, any goal that Richard puts his mind to quickly becomes a reality. Now, this motivational speaker tours the country to share his story, inspiring audiences to overcome their own limitations in life.
Let’s find out more about Richard Whitehead!
Record-Breaking Marathon Runner
Richard has broken multiple marathon world records, for both 13 and 26 miles. at the 2010 Chicago Marathon, he soared to the lead, setting the fastest time for athletes with lower-limb amputations. It took another runner nine years to beat his incredible time of 2:42:52.
Three years later, Richard once again took to the world stage, this time at the 2013 London Marathon. He finished third with a respectable time of 3:15:53. From his first marathon in 2004 as a novice, to setting world records in 2010, Richard’s perseverance is a force to be reckoned with.
As the first-ever patron of Sarcoma UK, Richard completed not one, but 40 marathons in 2013, over the course of 40 days – as well as his London Marathon success. From John O’Groats to Land’s End, the incredible athlete raised valuable funds for the cancer charity. Since this achievement, Richard has promoted a single core value; sport can save lives, in more ways than one. It can unite people, unite nations, and instil a positive mindset.
Despite experiencing such unprecedented success, the 2012 London Paralympic Marathon’s lack of inclusion for leg amputees meant that Richard was unable to compete. When the International Paralympic Committee wouldn’t let him race against upper-body amputees in the marathon, Richard chose to adapt rather than give up.
Richard’s determination resulted in a gold medal, when he changed his discipline and took first place at the 200m T42 Athletics sprinting event. Going a step further, Richard even set a world record time of 24.38 seconds. He returned at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to defend his title, as well as win Silver in the T42 100m.
A man of many talents, this wasn’t Richard’s first experience of the Paralympics, as he competed for GB’s sledge hockey team at the 2006 Turin Winter Paralympic Games. 14 years on, and Richard is looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Richard is no stranger to the stage, having already presented at high-profile corporate events up and down the country. With an extraordinary range of personal and professional achievements, starting with overcoming his double through-knee congenital amputation as a child, audiences come away from Richard’s speeches enlightened. This motivational speaker is the ideal addition to your event, due to his incredible insight into achieving goals.
When appearing at events, Richard is known to discuss the following speaking topics:
Dealing with Setbacks
Building a Legacy
Diversity & Inclusion
Preparing for Performance