BRAVE Maddie Martin finds it difficult walking.
But that didn’t stop her using all the energy she had left to cross the finish line of the Bupa Great South Run mini race on Saturday.
Maddie, eight, of Soberton Road, Leigh Park, Havant, suffers from Spina Bifida, which means she has to use a wheelchair to get about on a daily basis. After her dad Rob Martin, 52, pushed her round the majority of the 1.5k course Maddie climbed out of her wheelchair and walked the final leg, much to the delight of thousands of spectators.
Mr Martin said: ‘Maddie was determined to get out of her wheelchair and cross the finish on her own. Nothing was going to stop her.
‘It was fantastic to see.
‘And the first thing she said to me afterwards was; “can we do that again next year dad?” I’m incredibly proud of her. She’s so determined.’
Maddie told her family she wanted to compete in the race to show everyone she could do it and help others like her at the same time.
Her two sisters Bryony, three, and Sammie, four, also joined Maddie.
Mr Martin said: ‘I think Bryony was glad that Maddie wanted to get out of her wheelchair because she wanted a rest! It was lovely doing the race as a family.’
The family raised £300 for The Association for the Southern Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Foundation as part of their efforts. Mr Martin said: ‘The foundation has helped us and a lot of other families out across Hampshire. I spoke to Maddie before the race and she said this was going to be a great chance for her to help out others who have Spina Bifida’
‘She’s a really sensible kid.’
Mr Martin gave up work three years ago so he could be his daughter’s full-time carer – and he’s never looked back since.
‘I was working in a job which gave me a great salary.
‘But I love Maddie very much and her health is more important to me than anything else.’