Stevenage man who wanted to inspire others 'wheels' 300 miles in July
PUBLISHED: 16:46 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 02 August 2019
A 29-year-old man from Stevenage - who has been disabled for 12 years - completed a 300 mile endurance challenge last month, all from the seat of an adapted wheelchair.
Ricky Western has been quadriplegic after a car crash when he was 17, leaving him with restricted movement of his hands, arms and trunk.
Throughout July, he completed a variety of runs, from a 5k colour run to the Lytham Windmill half marathon, hitting his 300 mile target just in time yesterday.
On his 300 mile challenge, Ricky said: "I would have laughed at the offer to do this [10 miles a day] a year ago.
"This challenge is easy, if you're determined, for a runner and even more so in a chair as you can do this at anytime and anywhere."
Ricky started a Facebook page to document his journey, with more than 380 people liking the page to date.
He said: "I decided to push myself further than ever before. I wanted to show what a quadriplegic can do and to inspire others." It certainly appears to be working, one follower described him as "a true inspiration."
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Ricky said the purpose of the page "is to show anyone in a chair what they can do and to encourage more wheelchair users to get out there running/wheeling."
Ricky explains: "For paraplegics, there are lots of hobbies you can do. But for quadriplegics there are many things you cannot do.
"It's not something widely out there, as quadriplegics are not helped by GB funding. The difference in wheelchair racing between quadriplegics and paraplegics is huge."
Ricky's first half marathon was in June, and he marks it as the "starting line of his journey." He admitted to getting stuck at one point, but with the crowd's cheering and support he pulled himself through.
Following his first half-marathon, Ricky said he "had caught the bug."
Now, he said: "This is a big part of my life now, it's important to have targets and do positive things in life and it's helped me greatly."
"This is just the start. I plan on completing many more."
Ricky is working towards a full marathon in Edinburgh next April, but he says other things are in the pipeline.