Running is a mental challenge as much as it is physical, jogging over long distances requires an immense level of perseverance. There have been some incredibly motivational running stories that have inspired even the most novice of runners to lace up their trainers. If they can do it, anyone can. Virtual Runner looks at six of the most inspirational runners who have defied all odds.
1. Blind runner – Dave Heeley
Completing a marathon is challenging enough but can you imagine not being able to see whilst running? Dave Heeley was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a child but he has not let the loss of his eyesight get in the way of his jogging ambitions. Dave has completed an astonishing seven marathons in seven days across seven continents, running alongside his guide runner, Tony, who enjoys keeping Dave updated with the surrounding sights.
2. Running with Cerebral Palsy – Justin Gallegos
A true inspiration. After thriving in his school’s cross-country team, Justin Gallegos defied all odds by completing the 2018 Eugone Half Marathon in Oregon. He became the first professional athlete to sign a contract with Nike, who promptly worked with Justin to design a shoe to help him with his running. Justin shows that even the most overwhelming obstacles can be overcome. Speed and personal bests mean nothing to Justin, running is all that matters.
3. London Bridge attack hero – Police Constable Leon McLeod
Leon witnessed some horrific sights that he will never forget after being one of the first officers on the scene of the London Bridge attacks. He admits that his life has changed dramatically since that fateful day but he is now running for PTSD999 – a charity that supports members of the emergency service who have suffered with Post traumatic stress disorder. The 31-year-old hopes to ensure that his friends and colleagues can continue to reach out for help in the aftermath of traumatic events.
4. Promoting parkrun’s – Dame Kelly Holmes
If the prospect of seeing gold-winning Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes at your local parkrun isn’t an incentive to turn up and get involved, then what is? Unsurprisingly, Holmes had energy to spare at the end of her 5K weekend run, doubling back to give high fives to runners on the home straight. Holmes continues to promote the benefits of parkrun’s for improving mental health and general well-being. Why not try one this weekend?
This is what happens after a lot of my parkruns. I run backwards and cheer everyone on 👏🏽🏃🏻♀️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏻♂️🏃🏽♀️🏃🏼♀️
I enjoy running because it makes me feel good and if I can inspire others to keep going as well it’s a win win@parkrunUK @parkrunIE pic.twitter.com/lcAFTBIL11
— Kelly Holmes (@damekellyholmes) June 16, 2019
5. Doctor saves life and finishes race – Theodore Strange
Strange had just reached mile 16 of the gruelling New York City Marathon when he heard a fellow runner crying for help. The woman’s friend was unconscious, prompting Strange to begin administrating CPR before calling for a defibrillator. After a police officer took over, Strange finished the race in an impressive 5:16, learning after the race that the woman was stable. His actions were instrumental in keeping her alive.
6. Ultra Race for a Super Mum – Sophie Power
Sophie Power may not be a household name but this ultrarunner completed the 166km race with a 3-month-old baby in tow. The time to complete this race was 43 hours and 33 minutes. Normally feeding her child every 3 hours it took 16 hours to reach the checkpoint where her child was waiting to be fed. Despite this she completed the race and said ‘staying fit, healthy and strong is so important and how you can safely do that needs to be talked about more when it comes to preparing for motherhood’