Richard Whitehead, the first leg amputee to break the three-hour mark in the marathon, has bested his own time again, setting a new marathon world record for leg amputees: two hours, 50 minutes, and 38 seconds. The record, set at the Chicago Marathon on October 11, was nearly six minutes faster than his previous record.
“I can’t quite believe it,” Whitehead wrote on his blog, www.marathonchamp.com. “I have been training extremely well, and I felt that I could run a very fast time in Chicago. However I didn’t expect to break my previous record-I am thrilled. Initially I was little concerned about the cold conditions, but the quick course and the amazing support from the crowd gave me inspiration.”
The 33-year-old Briton, who received his first running legs just five years ago, has a congenital bilateral transfemoral amputation. According to his sponsor, Ossur, Reykjavik, Iceland, Whitehead has previously competed on the Great Britain Paralympic teams for cricket, swimming, and sledge hockey, and he currently works full time as an adaptive sports coach.
Having broken the world record twice hasn’t eased Whitehead’s drive to compete. He wrote, “Running a new world-record time is evidence that my training is going well, but also gives me the confidence to push myself harder toward my ultimate goal-competing in the London 2012 Paralympic Marathon. The time I have achieved in Chicago is one step closer to realizing this dream. Once I return to the UK, I will sit down with my coach, Liz Yelling, and plan the next stage of my training and running development.”