RUNNING the hilly course of the Blenheim 7km fun run would put most people out of breath.
Now Edward McDonagh will be the first to take part in a wheelchair – using just his right arm and leg.
The 24-year-old from Bicester suffered a life-changing brain injury when he was involved in a car accident at the age of eight.
He told the Oxford Mail: “It has been difficult and nearly pushed me to my limit.
“But it has also given me a goal to work towards for the future. It makes me feel motivated, excited and passionate.”
Mr McDonagh propels his wheelchair forwards turning the right wheel with his right arm and pulling on the ground with his right foot, also used to steady himself.
Organisers of the annual event have devised a new four-mile route in his honour, suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.
In previous years it had not been possible because of the off-road section, event organiser Sarah Airey said.
She added: “This year, when Jonathan and Edward asked we decided to say yes. It seemed such a shame to keep saying no when it only requires a bit of extra effort to make a new route.
“I’m really pleased that we’re able to help, especially because of how enthusiastic Edward has been and that he is doing it for charity.”
The run takes place on May 18 and follows trails and paths of Blenheim Palace. It’s the same as the seven-kilometre main run, but misses out the off-road section.
Mr McDonagh has been training for three months and has so far completed four-mile practice races in about an hour. On the day he aims to do it in less.
Trainer and support worker Johnathan Watson, from Witney, said Mr McDonagh required a lot of focus to keep his wheelchair going on the steep hills around the estate.
The 39-year-old said: “Edward has been amazing, especially when you think about what he faces on a daily basis. He doesn’t let things hold him back in life.”
Mother Anna McDonagh and father Kerry McDonagh, both 56, said they were proud of their son.
Mrs McDonagh said: “Edward has an incredible way of grabbing life by the horns and not letting things defeat him.
“After the accident he had to re-learn everything – walking, talking, how to sit upright. So we are absolutely proud of him.”
Edward McDonagh has started a JustGiving page for people to sponsor his race, with a target of £550.
But he has smashed that target, reaching an impressive £1,795, as well as a £500 cash donation.
It is in support of the Children’s Brain Injury Trust, based in Bicester, which helped him after his accident.
- For more information visit justgiving.com/Edward-McDonagh