The First Leg Amputee to Run Sub Three Hour Marathon

Double legged amputee marathon runner, Richard Whitehead capped an amazing week by breaking the 3 hour barrier at the 2009 Rome Marathon (22 March 2009). His time of 2 hours 56 minutes and 45 seconds was the fastest ever by a leg amputee.

Just a week earlier (15 March 2009), Whitehead ran the Bath Half Marathon in a time of 1h 19m, two minutes faster than the previous leg amputee record.

On his week of achievements Whitehead commented;

“I am ecstatic to run a sub 3 hour marathon. To be the first leg amputee to do so is amazing.”

“My training has been going extremely well this year. The advice and motivation provided by my coach Liz Yelling has given me the confidence, belief and strength to run faster times. After the Bath Half Marathon last Sunday I felt I had a fast marathon within me. To finally break three hours at the Rome Marathon was an awesome experience. But I feel I can run faster, especially as it was a very windy day and this was my first competitive marathon of the season.”

“My hope now is that my time of 2 hours 56 and 45 seconds will give me credibility within the running community. My main ambition is to represent Team GB in the marathon at the London 2012 Paralympics. If preparation and training continue to go well and my times continue to fall, I may even be in contention for a medal.”

Richard Whitehead runs on carbon fibre Flex-RunTM feet, developed and kindly provided by Ossur (, a company that has more than thirty years’ experience in the design and production of high-tech prosthesis and orthopedic devices.

“The new Ossur Flex-RunTM feet has given me the chance to achieve the ambition of being able to run and I have found great reward from being able to do so. When running on my Flex-RunTM (artificial legs) I feel a sense of freedom. When I run, I run with no knee joints so my legs are straight. This means that I run differently to other runners and use twice the amount of energy.

“I want to continue running for as long as possible and compete in as many races as I can all around the world. I believe that I can help break down barriers and raise awareness of disabled sport.”