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South Woodford wheelchair London Marathon racer says runner Tiki Gelana was not at fault in crash

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 April 2013

Gary Donald competes in the 2013 London Marathon. Photo: Phil Aylen

Gary Donald competes in the 2013 London Marathon. Photo: Phil Aylen

Archant

A South Woodford father finished his first wheelchair London Marathon in an incredible 2hrs 49mins on Sunday.

Gary Donald, of Maybank Road, has been confined to a wheelchair since 1990 because of a spinal condition and had not taken part in sport for 20 years.

But he was inspired to do the marathon by 102-year-old record breaker Fauja Singh.

Gary, 58, said: “I only did my first half marathon eight months ago and I thought I would never be able to do twice the distance.

“But I was full of go at the end - I could have gone a few more miles.”

Gary is used to racing alongside runners in the Valentines Parkrun and Barking Parkrun and said he did not feel at risk of a collision like that between Olympic champion runner Tiki Gelana and wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy.

The women’s elite runners start ahead of the wheelchair race and the pair collided as Gelana picked up a water bottle at a drink station.

The crash, which injured Gelana and knocked Cassidy out the race, has led to calls for the races to be separated, although there have been no previous accidents.

Gary said: “I think it’s wrong for wheelchair racers to go full pace right in front of a drink station.

“Runners are so involved in a race and suddenly they see it - you’ve got to expect them to swerve across.”

He suggested that wheelchair racers could stick to a lane away from the drinks tables in future races to avoid crash risks.

Gary was fundraising for the Velocity Wheelchair Racing Club, which loaned him a racing wheelchair for the day, and Tutudesk, which makes cheap, portable desks to help children study in sub-Saharan Africa.

He has raised £700 so far, donate at www.justgiving.com/Gary-Donald1.


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