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:
8:30am Saturday 29th August 2015
A TOP transplant surgeon has backed the Oxford Mail organ donation campaign saying more donors are needed than ever before.
9:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
A RAPIST who disappeared before his trial to escape justice is believed to have had a second passport he could have used to flee the country.
8:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
MOVING tributes were paid to Carole Roberts yesterday at the former Lord Mayor of Oxford’s funeral.
7:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
Seven men have appeared in court accused of a catalogue of sex offences.
6:30am Saturday 29th August 2015
PLANS for an Oxford Garden City could return as the Vale looks to accommodate 4,000 new homes.
6:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
FULL plans have been revealed for 140 new homes in Littlemore near Heyford Hill Sainsbury’s.
2:13pm Friday 28th August 2015
A CYCLIST has suffered “serious injuries” after being involved in a collision with a car in Abingdon.
8:30am Friday 28th August 2015
AN MP last night demanded answers about how a rapist who was released on bail could have escaped justice.
2:54pm Friday 28th August 2015
TRAFFIC is moving slowly on the M40 near Bicester this afternoon due to an electrical fire.
2:14pm Friday 28th August 2015
A CYCLIST was involved in a collision with a van this morning in Oxford.
9:00am Friday 28th August 2015
A POLICING finance boss has vowed Thames Valley Police will not be hit with a predicted £43.7m cuts but refused to be drawn on how much could be axed.
8:00am Friday 28th August 2015
AIR show managers in Oxfordshire are reviewing how their events are run in the wake the Shoreham crash, which is thought to have killed at least 11 people.
7:00am Friday 28th August 2015
MOTORISTS have been warned of more congestion when the new school year starts next week.
6:30am Friday 28th August 2015
OXFORD University has revealed it is poised to sell the former paper mill site at Wolvercote.