Paralympian’s charity epic coming to town

File photo dated 10/9/2012 of Paralympic 200m sprint champion Richard Whitehead who  believes that running 40 marathons in 40 days for charity will be the "hardest thing I have ever done". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 13, 2013. The double leg amputee, who defended his world 200m title just weeks ago, starts his gruelling charity trek from John O'Groats to Land's End today. See PA story SPORT Whitehead. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/9/2012 of Paralympic 200m sprint champion Richard Whitehead who believes that running 40 marathons in 40 days for charity will be the "hardest thing I have ever done". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 13, 2013. The double leg amputee, who defended his world 200m title just weeks ago, starts his gruelling charity trek from John O'Groats to Land's End today. See PA story SPORT Whitehead. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire

Huge crowds are set to welcome a Paralympic gold-medal hero as he starts part of an epic charity challenge from Ilkeston next month.

Sprinter Richard Whitehead this week announced he is running 40 marathons in 40 days, from John O’Groats to Land’s End, in aid of two charities.

NDET 11-5-12 MC 3'Exterior of Victoria Leisure Centre Ilkeston

NDET 11-5-12 MC 3'Exterior of Victoria Leisure Centre Ilkeston

And the double-leg amputee, who finished first in the 200m at last summer’s London Paralympics, has chosen Ilkeston’s Victoria Park as his start point for a marathon on Friday September 6, which ends in his home town of Nottingham.

Erewash councillor and member of Ilkeston Running Club, Louis Booth, said it was a great boon for the town.

“Last year’s Olympics engaged millions of people into sport and made us proud as a nation,” he said. “All of us should turn out, whether we are sports fans or not, and embrace Richard’s marathon from Ilkeston.

“Let’s get as many people out as we can to welcome this superhuman being.”

The charity challenge is also a million pound fundraising quest for the charities Sarcoma UK and Scope.

“It is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is massive,” 37-year-old Richard said.

“To run a marathon every day for 40 days obviously is going to be tough. I am a mentally strong person and I am physically able to do a marathon – hopefully I will be able to replicate that with the support of my team.

“This is about giving up my time to hopefully open up opportunities for others. I am good at running and hopefully I can inspire other people by doing something that I am good at.”

On Friday September 6, Richard starts his 21st section of the epic challenge at Victoria Park, Manners Road. The race will pass down Nottingham Road to Trowell, continuing along the A609 to Nottingham city centre, times TBA.

The previous day’s race starts in Grangemills in the Peak District and passes through Ambergate, Heage, Heanor and Shipley, before ending in Ilkeston.

Places to run alongside him are disappearing fast – visit www.richardwhiteheadrunsbritain.com to sign up.