Ex-sol­dier shows he’s the wheel deal in big race

Rochdale Observer - - LOOKING BACK - Da­mon.wilkin­son@men­media.co.uk @Da­monWilkin­son6

AN ex-sol­dier has spo­ken of his pride at com­plet­ing the new wheel­chair Great North Run.

Richard Heather, 50, from Rochdale, in­jured his spine while serv­ing in the Army and also has Tourette’s syn­drome and post trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

He was one of only five peo­ple se­lected for the first-ever Unlimited Great North Wheel­chair Event, which took place in New­cas­tle last Satur­day, the day be­fore North Run.

Speak­ing at the fin­ish line he said: “I’m just so proud of everyone.

“I’m get­ting so emo­tional here at the fin­ish.

“The hills were a lot tougher than I was ex­pect­ing.

“This event be­ing at­tached to the Great North Run and the City Games has def­i­nitely been a good thing.

“When I was asked if I wanted to do this I thought to my­self that as I do hand cy­cling and I’ve be­gun do­ing triathlon, that it would be easy for me. the Great

“But it’s def­i­nitely been an eye opener.

“A lot more dis­abled peo­ple should get in­volved in events like this, as I thor­oughly en­joyed it.”

Rick was given a rac­ing wheel­chair and trained with Par­a­lympic coach Rick Hoskins in prepa­ra­tion for the one-mile chal­lenge.

Speak­ing be­fore the event he said be­ing se­lected for the event was a ma­jor vic­tory for him after years of strug­gle.

He added: “I’ve be­come very frus­trated over the years.

“I have a dis­abil­ity which means a lot of peo­ple think I can’t do sport but I don’t want to let that hold me back.

“The cost of a rac­ing chair is a crazy amount of money and I’ve never been able to af­ford one.

“I did my first para-triathlon in Leeds on June 10 and had to do the run part in my day chair which was hor­ri­ble.

“I’ve wanted to take part in the Great North Run for many years and I’ve fi­nally got the chance to do it.

“It’s made my dreams come true at last.”

The event was launched by The Unlimited Com­pany from Sim­ply­health and The Great Run Com­pany.

“It’s made my dreams come true at last”

●●Ex-sol­dier Richard Heather com­pleted the new wheel­chair Great North Run in New­cas­tle

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