Running with Richard Whitehead
30 September 2013
Paralympic gold medalist Richard Whitehead has just completed his epic run from John O’Groats to Land’s End, promoting a life without limits and raising money and awareness for Sarcoma UK and Scope. I joined him as he ran through Solihull and I want to share with you some of the highlights from the day and the way that Richard’s run has helped inspire our staff, customers and people right across the country.
One of the key programmes I’m helping to lead at the moment is accessibility – for us this is all about helping everyone live an independent digital lifestyle and we have a number of work streams in place to help make this a reality. As part of our programme, we’ve been working with Richard Whitehead as our Accessibility Brand Ambassador – he’s been meeting our staff across the country at our key sites to talk about ability.
In August, we also proudly championed his own personal challenge to run an incredible 40 marathons in 40 days – raising money for our national charity Scope, along with Sarcoma UK. This truly inspirational feat has helped raise awareness of accessibility across our business with over 150 staff at Virgin Media signing up to support him by running alongside the paralympian.
I was one of many colleagues who dusted off their old running shoes to get involved and on a sunny September morning I took to the streets in Solihull to run 10km with Richard. I have never run so far or so fast in my life, spurred on by the friendly banter of Port Vale football club who joined us for the run on the day. Lots of local supporters came out to cheer us on and the support from the public as we ran through the streets was really encouraging.
Once the footballers had left and I’d caught my breath, I ran alongside Richard who was eager to hear how things were going wth our accessibility programme. I explained how, thanks to him, we’re starting to see a mindshift in how we think about accessibility at Virgin Media. His influence as Accessibility Brand Ambassador has also helped create an opportunity to engage in a conversation with our staff and customers in this area.
Although his run is now over, Richard’s work continues, raising awareness about accessibility and helping families across the UK embrace life no matter what challenges they may face. Although we’ve made some great progress we’ve only just started and I’m looking forward to working with Richard and my colleagues as we continue our focus into 2014.