Disabled man to complete half-marathon in a wheelchair

David Cooper will be among those racing today PICTURE: DAVID COOPER

David Cooper will be among those racing today PICTURE: DAVID COOPER - Credit: Archant

A 79-year-old widower who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease will take part in the Great East Run.

He may be unable to walk - but David Cooper is not letting disability get in his way as he prepares to complete the Great East Run...in a wheelchair.

The 79-year-old Maldon man has lost the use of his legs due to Motor Neurone Disease.

Yet not willing to sit back, he has continued to take part in long-distance wheelchair events.

And now he is to take on a combined distance of 29 miles in two months in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Mr Cooper said: “I’ve lost the use of my legs but I was always very active before. I did lots of long-distance walks.

“So I thought: what can I do? Other than think and dwell on what I can’t do, what can physically I do?”

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With a stoic attitude and positivity, Mr Cooper took up wheelchair racing and has since raised over £1,000 for the charity.

He said: “I had recently got a rather good, lightweight wheelchair and it’s one I’m able to push quite well.

“I talked to the Motor Neurone Association and asked them what I could do to stay active and they told me about some races which they support.”

Mr Cooper’s three-race challenge which will begin at the Great East Run, Ipswich’s own half-marathon, on September 16.

He will then travel to Bournemouth for a 10k on October 6 before finishing with a 10-mile slog at the Great South Run in Portsmouth on October 21.

“My upper body strength has always been quite reasonable, so I have now found something I can do to utilise it,” said Mr Cooper.

“I do a lot of long-distance country pushes and I enjoy going to the gym so I go every other day and I’ve worked on getting stronger.”

The Motor Neurone Disease Association helps thousands of British people who suffer from the condition daily.

Mr Cooper said: “I know that the Motor Neurone Disease Association are constantly working to try and make the condition bearable and to find a cure.

“I don’t think they will for me but maybe one day they will for someone else.”

To donate to the cause, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wizardofthewheels

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