Uni of Worcester lecturers to push wheelchair friend to glory at London Marathon - The Malvern Observer

Uni of Worcester lecturers to push wheelchair friend to glory at London Marathon

Malvern Editorial 4th Mar, 2024   0

TWO Worcester based sports lecturers are set to help their wheelchair-bound friend and family member complete this year’s London Marathon.

Gareth Rees, who is paralysed from the neck down, will be pushed to glory to help raise £2,500 for the RFU Injured Players Foundation, a charity supportive of Gareth in the past.

Principal lecturer in sports therapy, Dr Darren Cooper (Gareth’s cousin) and senior lecturer, Richard Pepperell (Gareth’s former rugby teammate) will join another two runners to help Gareth reach the finish line.

Gareth injured his spinal cord playing rugby in 2011. He makes up one of 10 assisted places in the race. The team, no more than two at a time, will push him 26.2 miles on April 21.

With Gareth, his wheelchair and the necessary supplies, the team will be pushing roughly 100kg through the streets of London.

Darren is an experienced runner, who has completed a few marathons and ironman challenges before, including Ironman UK, but this will be an entirely different challenge.

“A few of us have experience pushing buggies with children in, but that’s very different,” said Darren. “One of the reasons for doing the marathon in London is that the crowds are always out in force, that’s a big draw.”

Richard’s marathon experience is not as extensive, though he has done some middle-distance triathlons.

“It’s daunting, but I keep myself pretty fit and we’re not aiming for the fastest time,” he said. “We’ll work as a team and go as fast as the slowest person.”

For Gareth, the challenges are entirely different. The 37-year-old, from Warwick, will be using a wheelchair purpose built for the occasion.

“Even though I’m essentially sitting there, I need to make sure I’m healthy and in a condition where I can do it. Although I’m not doing athletic training, I still need to prepare for what the day will entail,” he said.

The team are estimating that they will get round the course in about five hours.

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/the-big-marathon-push to donate to the cause.

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