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