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Gary leads the way for wheelchair racers at St Clare’s 10K

Sport / Mon 3rd Mar 2014 am31 10:35am

A WHEELCHAIR racer who took up the sport less than three years ago will be among the entrants at the starting line for the annual St Clare 10k on Sunday, March 16.

The number of disabled athletes who have competed in the sporting event has steadily risen in recent years as the race has become more inclusive for sportsmen and women of all abilities.

Gary Donald, who has no feeling in his legs and has been confined to a wheelchair since 1991, first started racing in 2011 when he and his children decided they all wanted to improve their fitness.

He said: “I hadn’t done any sport for a long time and when you’re sitting down all day that’s not the best thing to do. I used to cycle to work and play badminton a couple of times a week, but for the first five years I was in the chair I did absolutely nothing.”

He initially signed up to take part in 5km ParkRun events. A year later he was given the opportunity to loan a race chair from a local club and just nine months after that he secured an ‘Elite’ place in last year’s London Marathon, finishing in 2hr 49min.

Gary, who trains with Harlow Athletic Club at Mark Hall Sports Centre, said: “I wish I’d known about wheelchair racing ages ago because I absolutely love it.”

It will be the first St Clare event the 59-year-old dad-of-two has competed in. The retired lecturer, who lives in South Woodford, added: “It’s great to see more and more wheelies taking part in the St Clare 10k, and having the chance to not only compete but to raise money for a local charity supporting local people at the same time.”

Registration for the St Clare 10k is £12 in advance (£10 for affiliated runners) or £15 on the day. Call the fundraising team on 01279 773750 or see www.stclarehospice.org.uk/10krun.html.
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