Simon Kindleysides becomes first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon after gruelling 36 hour race
PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:04 24 April 2018
Step after step over a gruelling 36 hours a father-of-three from Norfolk has become the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon.
Simon Kindleysides, from Blofield, has spent the last two days walking around the 26.2-mile marathon course using a Rewalk exoskeleton suit, and surrounded by a team of supporters.
Mr Kindleysides was diagnosed with functional neurological disorder and a glioma brain tumour in 2013, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
But the 33-year-old has been determined not let his paralysis hold him back - in 2015 he hand cycled from London to Paris and raised more than £5,000 for charity.
And at 10am on Sunday he set off with thousands of others on one of the toughest races in the world. By the time winner Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line in little over two hours, Mr Kindleysides was still facing 24 miles and 34 hours on the road.
By 9pm on Monday night he was walking along the Embankment, and by 11pm had become the first paralysed man ever to complete the race.
“I am in a lot of pain,” he said. “It has taken it out of me and I don’t know how it is going to affect my physically afterwards.
“Walking through the night when it was dark and no one was around was really difficult and the team really kept me going through that.
“I hadn’t walked 26 miles in my life when I was able bodied, so that is a massive achievement in itself. I am in a lot of pain and my hands are sore from putting my weight on them so I have had to get wrist support.
“The support has just been overwhelming and like a dream come true. It is incredible because I didn’t expect it to be as big as it was. My children are getting great comments at school and they are very proud of their dad.
“My girlfriend has been absolutely amazing and has walked six miles alongside me. She has taken me on with the wheelchair and three kids. She is looking past all that and sees me for me as a person.
“The comments have been so touching I can’t really put it into words. I don’t see myself as an inspiration - it has been very humbling. I was in lots of pain but I forced myself through it.
“I just wanted to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You can stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself or get out and enjoy your life, because you are only here once.”
For his London Marathon fundraiser, Mr Kindleysides has so far raised more than £6,500. To donate, click here.