Wheelchair athlete David Williamson completes marathon at Mountbatten track in Portsmouth

A double amputee sportsman has raised funds for a disability charity in a marathon during scorching hot weather conditions.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:42 pm
David Williamson at the Mountbatten Centre race track in Stamshaw

David Williamson, from Portsmouth completed a ‘brutal’ marathon as part of the Enham Trust’s 100 Challenge, raising more than £2,000 for the trust's disability charity in Andover.

The cause supports people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

The marathon, which was David’s 34th in the last five years, saw the amputee action man wheel 106 laps of the outdoor athletics track at the Mountbatten Centre in Stamshaw - equivalent to the distance of a marathon.

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David Williamson at the finish line of the 2018 Great South Run Picture: Sarah Standing (180800-7401)

He completed the course in just under seven hours on Wednesday, July 14, but says the 25C heat that day made it ‘really really difficult’.

David said: ‘When you’re on a running track, there are no shaded areas as you go round, so you’re in that heat for the whole time, which is absolutely draining.

‘It’s almost like if you imagine puncturing a paddling pool with a knitting needle and the water drains out - that’s what the heat does to your energy, it just saps it out.

‘The first 21 kilometres I did on target in three hours. But the second half was difficult, and then I started getting blisters on my hands.

‘It just came down to determination, stubbornness not to give in. It was definitely more of a mental challenge than anything else.’

The head volleyball coach was on his own for most of the marathon, and this feat was amongst his top three most challenging races due to the hot weather conditions.

But he records the endeavour as a ‘real achievement’ due to his age, at 42.

‘Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on it, I’m really pleased. I’m 42 now, and I don’t know if I can still do it, so to be able to complete it was a real achievement.’

The wheelchair athlete will be taking part in his first-ever parachute jump in September, which he said is out of his comfort zone as he is ‘pretty terrified of heights.’

David smashed his original fundraising target of £1,000 and extended it to £3,400. He is considering doing a 35th marathon to round off his brave set of challenges but insists it will always have to be for a charity close to his heart.

You can donate to David’s marathon challenge here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/DW34.