Marathon hero Craig inspires student’s Help for Heroes half marathon challenge
- Credit: IAN BURT
An Afghanistan veteran who completed last year's London Marathon despite losing half a leg in an explosion has inspired a student to run a half marathon of her own for Help for Heroes.
Dereham man Craig Richardson was wounded in 2008, but became a local hero when he completed the 26.2-mile course last April, wearing a carbon-fibre running blade.
Ria Bush, who as a teenager helped create the award-winning Just Smile anti-bullying campaign, has known the former RAF Regiment senior aircraftsman for four years through the fiancee of her twin, Ellice.
The Shipdham resident said Craig's achievement, and last year's Paralympics, had inspired her to enter the Warwick Half Marathon on March 17.
She said: 'I just think Craig is such a positive person. He is so inspirational. When something like that happens you can take two routes: get on and do something or sit and do nothing and moan about it, and Craig did the complete opposite.
'He is such a nice guy and there was no way that he was not going to do it. If Craig can do it, anyone can do it.'
Ria, who is 21 and studies French and translation degree in Birmingham, was on a one-year placement in Montebello in Canada when Craig ran the marathon, but she followed his progress through Facebook.
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So far she has run four miles in training around the flat Shipdham countryside, but hopes further preparation in Birmingham will better prepare her for the 'undulating' Warwick course.
Ria said that seeing so many troops from the Light Dragoons, stationed at the Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, near Dereham, helped her chose her charity.
She said: 'In Dereham especially there are so many people who have been affected by Help for Heroes. At the end of the day, you have got to think these guys are people who have fought for the country and sacrificed their lives and so we have to give a bit back to them.'
Ria and Ellice had both suffered cyber bullying, but, together with their sister Neola and friend Harriet Gilford, founded Just Smile to help victims express their emotions confidentially, and won a Pride of Breckland award in 2009.
Ria said she hopes to complete the 13-mile event in under two hours, and wants to continue following Craig Richardson's example by running the London Marathon one day. Sponsor her at www.justgiving.com/Ria-Bush