Tuesday, 7 June 2011

David Weir Wins 5th Virgin London Marathon

Support Get Kids Going! & Run Virgin London MarathonThe Get Kids Going! team enjoyed unprecedented success at the 2011 Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 17th April. Vice President David Weir claimed a historic fifth title in the Men’s Wheelchair Race with a record time of 1hr 30mins 5secs. David’s victory on Sunday, which The Daily Telegraph described as ‘tactical perfection”, makes him the most successful male wheelchair athlete in the race’s history. In the Women’s Wheelchair Race, Shelly Woods, who has been supported by Get Kids Going! from the age of fourteen, almost made it a double success before she was ‘pipped to the post’ for silver and a time of 1hr 46mins 31secs. Get Kids Going! Juniors Sheikh Muhadin Skeikh and Jake Williamson rounded off a hugely satisfying day by claiming Gold and Silver in the Junior Wheelchair Race with times of 12mins 41secs and 14mins 6secs respectively.

Speaking to Get Kids Going! before the marathon, David and Shelly were keen to point out just how much the charity has helped in the development of their sporting careers. Get Kids Going! has helped to buy the expensive equipment they have both needed to compete at an advanced level. As one in a family of three Shelly notes that it was simply impossible for her parents to afford the sports wheelchairs she needed to advance as an athlete. Shelly continued, wheelchair racing is “not for the faint-hearted. To be honest, it’s a really hard sport to be good at...it takes a lot of time…and you’re really on your own out there”. Having overcome financial and societal barriers, Shelly and David are optimistic about the future of disability sport in Britain. David said that youngsters now have “a lot more choice available” – improvements in technology have meant that sports practiced by just a handful of disabled youngsters are now far more accessible with the right support from charities like Get Kids Going!.

Both athletes are now setting their sights on London 2012 Paralympic Games, and with under 500 days remaining, the sense of anticipation is growing. Shelly says: “It’s exciting…I remember watching Athens and Sydney on TV…seeing Tanni Grey-Thompson…and I was thinking…ooh can I do that?” Get Kids Going! hopes that these inspiring athletes will be igniting the same dreams in a new generation of athletes.