RACING through the hilly grounds of Blenheim Palace in the summer sunshine was no picnic.
But one competitor was all smiles at the end of the four-mile route after he smashed his personal best by 18 minutes.
Wheelchair user Edward McDonagh asked for the race to be opened up to disabled athletes so he could also join in. The 24-year-old, the first racer to take part in a wheelchair, crossed the finish line yesterday in 40 minutes and 52 seconds.
Mr McDonagh, of Bicester, said: “It was so much fun. I would love to do more of them. It was quite tough, mentally, but physically, it was a walk in the park. I would like to do a half marathon.”
Accompanied by trainer Johnathan Watson, Mr McDonagh was one of 800 competitors to break into a sweat around the Woodstock palace.
And his proud mum Anna McDonagh and dad Kerry McDonagh, both 56, were thrilled to see him cross the finish line. Mrs McDonagh said: “Edward did the most amazing time. Before, his best-ever was 58 minutes. Jonathan drove him to push harder than he had ever done before and the crowds were really supportive.
“They need another challenge now.”
Mr McDonagh, who suffered a brain injury in a car crash at the age of eight, propels his wheelchair forwards turning the right wheel with his right arm and pulling on the ground with his right foot.
Organisers of the annual 7km event devised a new four-mile route suitable for wheelchairs and buggies after Mr McDonagh lobbied them.
Nearly 1,000 people turned out on Sunday to cheer the racers on. Mrs McDonagh added: “It was a fantastic effort. When Edward finished, his whole body was trembling with exhaustion.”
Mr McDonagh has now raised £3,460 for the Children’s Brain Injury Trust, based in Bicester, which helped him.
In the 7km race, Alex Jones came first in 24 minutes and 10 seconds.
The fastest woman was Jessica Webb, who finished in 28 minutes and seven seconds.
Father and son Neil and Ethan Carter completed the four-mile buggy race in 24 minutes, 19 seconds.
Our top stories:
5:32pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
A PENSIONER died last night after a crash in Abingdon.
1:46pm Thursday 27th November 2014
PD James, the acclaimed author famous for her series of detective novels, has died aged 94.
12:00pm Thursday 27th November 2014
Have a look around our interactive back page today...
11:10am Thursday 27th November 2014
Here's today's interactive front page for you to explore... what stories will grab your interest?
10:44am Thursday 27th November 2014
A TRAIN manager was assaulted and passengers came to his aid on a train to Banbury.
9:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014
MICKEY Lewis backed James Roberts to come back stronger than ever after Oxford United were boosted by the news the striker’s hamstring injury was not serious.
5:00pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
4:21pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
A TEENAGER reported missing could be in Abingdon, Didcot, Wantage or Grove.
3:45pm Wednesday 26th November 2014
AN 11-week-old baby who died in suspicious circumstances last week has been named as Jayden Saxton.
11:47am Wednesday 26th November 2014
A LORRY has turned on its side on a roundabout in Kingston Bagpuize, blocking traffic on the A420 and A415.
11:56am Wednesday 26th November 2014
Here's today's interactive front page - with links to all the featured stories but extra stories today...
9:10am Wednesday 26th November 2014
Trains going from London Paddington to Oxford were delayed yesterday by signalling problems at Ealing Broadway.
9:10am Wednesday 26th November 2014
A former Royal British Legion repatriation family liaison officer has appeared in court charged with fly tipping.
9:00am Wednesday 26th November 2014
THE £400m overhaul of the Westgate Shopping Centre was given final approval last night, clearing the way for work to begin in the new year.