He set world records for athletes with a double amputation, in both the full and half marathon. At the 2010 Chicago Marathon, he broke his previous world record for athletes with lower-limb amputations, with a time of 2:42:52. Whitehead’s marathon record was beaten by 28 seconds by Marko Cheseto at the 2019 Boston Marathon.
Whitehead was unable to compete in the marathon at London 2012 as there was no category for leg amputees, and was refused permission by the IPC to compete against upper-body amputees and so had to turn to sprinting to compete at the 2012 Paralympics, where he won the gold medal in the 200m T42 Athletics event with a world record time of 24.38 seconds.
His earlier career was a swimming and dance teacher at Clifton Leisure Centre in Nottingham. He is a former ice sledge hockey player, and competed for the GB team at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Turin.
Whitehead was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to athletics.
Whitehead was appointed the first-ever patron of Sarcoma UK, the bone- and soft-tissue cancer charity, on 28 January 2013.
Whitehead is a patron of Footprints Conductive Education Centre, a charity in his home town of Nottingham, who help children with mobility and communication problems develop the skills they need to thrive and achieve their potential. Whitehead is also a patron of Gedling Sports Partnership, a charity that promotes sport and physical education in the borough of Gedling.
His name was added to the Nottingham City Transport bus service “Pathfinder 100” on 18 September 2012; the bus links his home village of Lowdham with Southwell and Nottingham.
On 21 April 2013 he competed in the London Marathon coming in 23rd place with a time of 3:15:53.
Richard is not a double amputee. He was born without lower legs.
- Sprinter Whitehead secures cash boost after golden display, thisisbristol.co.uk, 16 February 2011
- Richard Whitehead Sets New World Best in Chicago Marathon, oandp.com, 26 October 2010
- Bragg, Beth (15 April 2019). “Former Anchorage runner Cheseto clocks world’s fastest marathon by a double amputee”. Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- Gibson, Owen (1 September 2012). “Paralympics 2012: Richard Whitehead sprints to glory in T42 200m final”. The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- “Paralympics 2012: Richard Whitehead wins 200m gold for GB”. BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- “No. 60367”. The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 25.
- NY13 Honours – London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Cabinet Office
- “About Richard Whitehead MBE”. 3 July 2013.
- “Richard Whitehead Runs Britain”.
- Athlete Search Results – Whitehead, Richard, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- Richard Whitehead: Forget Oscar Pistorius – I’m the fastest man on no legs, insideworldparasport.biz, 18 March 2010