My London Marathon Diary - Chris Rattenbury

Welcome to a new blog/training diary from Chris Rattenbury, who this year will be taking on his biggest ever challenge, the 2021 Virgin London Marathon.

Chris has been a volunteer with WheelPower for over 10 years and is also one of our fantastic charity ambassadors. He continues to support the charity in every way he can, from day-to-day admin tasks to informative talks to schools and groups, telling them all about the WheelPower story. 

After the postponement of the 2020 London Marathon Chris decided to have his place moved forward to this year's event and now he is very excited to be able to share his story with you over the next six months. Each month Chris will be providing us with an update on how training is going and how plans are coming together for the big day on October 3rd. 

Thank you for reading and please do pop back to hear about how Chris is doing. DONATE to Chris's Marathon Challenge by clicking on the button below, thank you ... 

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3 July 2021 - the countdown to the big day continues!

There are now just 3 months to go until the big day! So we have been back in touch with Chris to see how he been doing ...

“The last month has been gone very well and I can’t believe the marathon is so close now! I’m really happy to have returned to a good level of fitness very quickly after my surgery. The exercise has really helped the phantom pain I had been getting and I’m slowly coming off the pain tablets too."

"In the last few weeks I have been hitting 10 mile routes 3x a week and consistently doing it under 2 hours and knocking time off my PB. My route takes me over Milton Keynes from my home and includes a gradual incline at about half way that gets me every time! It’s been good to be joined by colleagues and friends on some of the pushes and I definitely feel faster since having my leg amputated. I recently went back to Centre MK for a push and completed 11 miles in 1 ½ hours which was 2 miles further than I was doing pre-surgery."

"I am feeling healthy and still go the gym a couple of times a week (weather depending) at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. I’m so grateful for the support of my friends that have supported me, provided advice and shown me the way forward. I feel so much more confident in myself and just want to carry on what I’m doing now. Looking ahead, I am really looking forward to going back to Wheelchair Basketball training with the Stoke Mandeville Aces, which I can’t wait for. I am also planning next month to try even longer distances and hopefully have a few friends join me along for some of the routes too. ”

"Having a goal like the London Marathon is very critical to me as I have come from a previous sporting career. I’m used to goals being set and it helps me to keep focused with my fitness and weight loss. The time is going so quick now and I'm so excited for the start line. Fundraising has been going well too and I’m now up to £350. Thank you to everyone who has donated and please continue to do so, as every single penny will make a huge difference to WheelPower." 

3 June 2021 - Marathon Training and Major Surgery

With 4 months to go until the 2021 London Marathon we have been back in touch with Chris to find out how he has been getting on this past month. It's safe to say it's been an eventful time since we last caught up with him ...

Hello Chris, can you please give us an update on how you have been getting on this past month?

So a few weeks ago I had my leg amputated above the knee at Bedford Hospital. I broke my hip last year and my right leg was rotating more to the right, so getting in my day chair or basketball chair properly has been difficult. I didn't want the sports I love to be taken away from me because of ill health so after speaking to many doctors it was decided that I would have this surgery. The phone call came as a surprise and I was feeling very nervous on the day itself but happy to have it done after being on a waiting list for a while. 

I’m doing pretty good after surgery and I've recently returned home to continue recovery. I've had some phantom pain which is strange to get used to! I'm now free of one painkiller and the withdrawal has been a 'bit rocky to say the least!'. Generally, though I'm in positive spirits and looking ahead to returning to training and feeling fitter again. On the plus side, I've lost more weight! 

How was training going before the surgery? 

The training was going really well before surgery. I was concentrating more on gym work to spice up training a bit and gain some extra strength. I'm looking forward to getting back to that and out on the road training as soon as possible. But I think initially I will be going back to pushing around the CentreMK shopping centre again to test myself first until I'm allowed to return to the gym in about 3 weeks time. I've also really missed basketball and my teammates at the Aces and the laughs we have had along the way. I can't wait to get back to training at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. 

I think because I push a day chair every day, it’s difficult to have a plan right now but I will get there and I'm still very much looking forward to the London Marathon. I can’t believe it’s only 4 months now!

How are you feeling about the London Marathon getting closer?

I'm massively excited to be on the start line in London. Those of you that really know me, will know that I have always been a reluctant athlete, but the one thing I always wanted to do was the London Marathon and in the fab Ottobock Ventus it will be an even better challenge!


"Quick pit stop at Ottobock UK to get the fab Ottobock Ventus prepared for more miles and London Marathon which I will be doing for WheelPower"

I totally admire those that are running or pushing the London Marathon for WheelPower this year. Their efforts are appreciated by everyone at the charity and will go a long way to helping transform lives through sport. It has been a long wait, but that start line is now so close and I can't wait to represent Team WheelPower at the biggest ever marathon event in 2021. 

I am doing the London Marathon to raise money for WheelPower and with your support I hope I can raise them a lot of money to continue the great work they do. Please give what you can and thank you for reading my marathon diary. 

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3 May 2021 - Chris and his London Marathon Training 

How has your exercise routine been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Before Covid-19 I was going to the gym at least 3 times a week and using the facilities at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. I was also doing sprint training in the sports hall there. On a Friday evening, I trained with Aces Wheelchair Basketball Club and played in 1st division alongside my teammates. When the weather was nice, I would be out pushing anything between 5-10 miles to get some fresh air and time away from the house!  The pandemic has unfortunately had an impact on my gym training and playing basketball. Not being able to go to the gym and play basketball for Aces was difficult and I missed it greatly, not just the physical side, but also the social side. Thankfully, I started doing the classes that WheelPower and Ella Beaumont put on. Ella also encouraged me to get out pushing more and make better use of time, which was great to get out. I even managed to sneak in a couple of 26 milers too!


Just a group of friends doing what we love (April 2019 )
Aces Wheelchair Basketball (www.instagram.com/aceswbc/)

How has your health been over the past 18 months? 

My health has been a bit of a nightmare over the last year. I have recurrent urinary tract infections (uti's) which has really hindered my training, especially if they are particularly bad. I also unfortunately broke my hip last year getting in my chair, which resulted in a hospital stay. During this time I missed pushing for about 6 months which was really difficult. As a result of the broken hip, I will be getting right leg amputated at some point.

How has 2021 started for you and how has training been going so far? 

Since January, I made it a goal to lose about 4 stone this year and I had to start training again for this to be achievable. From January I started pushing around the Centre:MK for an hour a day as part of the WheelPower Winter Walk and Push event. After a couple of weeks, I increased it by 30 minutes and did the same until I reached 2 1/2 hours! I was achieving distances of 10-15 miles, which as you can imagine is a lot of laps of the centre! Fortunately, because of the pandemic most of the shops were closed and there were fewer people around which helped me to push more efficiently. Since the new year began I have also started doing the online classes again, which have been excellent for both my physical and mental health. 


My Home from home! It's so good to be back at Stoke Mandeville again

What does a 'normal' week of training look like?

With 6 months to go London Marathon training for me now involves visiting the gym at Stoke Mandeville Stadium 3x a week, where I do a regular session of weights and cardio. Twice a week out you will also find me out pushing for at least 2 hours. I am trying to get on the tarmac more and even do the odd hill to replicate conditions in London, but when it rains I still will head back to the shopping centre to continue my training programme. I also have started taking a few more vitamins and have a calorie intake of 1500-1600 calories. I generally try and fit training in around midday or late evening. 


Back at the Gym
(Stoke Mandeville Stadium)


Since you began training for the London Marathon what has been your biggest achievement so far? My biggest achievement so far is losing nearly 2 stones. I feel a lot healthier and so much more confident despite the setback of the broken hip. The plan for the next month is to continue strength work and getting more weight off as we head into the Summer.

I am doing the London Marathon to raise money for WheelPower and with your support I hope I can raise them a lot of money to continue the great work they do. Please give what you can and thank you for reading my marathon diary. 

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3 April 2021 - Meet Chris Q & A

Can you please tell me a bit more about yourself and your work with WheelPower ?

I’m Chris, and I'm 42 years old. I grew up mainly in Milton Keynes, except for the first 7 years of my life. I went to a special school for 2 years and was then moved into a mainstream school. I’m a volunteer and ambassador for WheelPower. I attended WheelPower camps when I was a child and as an adult, and I attended National Games taking part in Powerlifting.  WheelPower helped fund the GB team to go to World Wheelchair Games in New Zealand in 1999 and I was proud to be a part of that team. They have also helped fund a couple other Powerlifting trips I have been a part of representing GB and British Weightlifting Association For Disabled. I began volunteering for WheelPower in 2010. I help out at the office and have the pleasure of going to schools, rotary clubs & other events to help promote WheelPower. 


Chris and the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch 

I have Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Spina Bifida is a disability caused by the spine not forming properly. Hydrocephalus is water around the brain that may need a tube insertion into the skull at birth and then for life to help drain water into the stomach or heart.

What sports have you taken part in throughout your life and how important are sport & fitness to you?

I have played wheelchair basketball on and off since the age of 10. I currently play for Aces Wheelchair Basketball Club at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. I wheelchair raced from age of 14-17 and then I did powerlifting for 17 years from 1997. I represented GB at World Champs and Euro Champs and represented England at 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. I retired in 2014. 


Chris and members of Team England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi

Chris (pictured left) and the British Team.
World Wheelchair Games, New Zealand 1999

Powerlifting Training in Hut 6 (Stoke Mandeville Stadium)

British Team Photo (Chris pictured centre) NZ 1999

National Championships (Stoke Mandeville Stadium)

Chris and the British Team! (Dubai 2014)

National Championships (Stoke Mandeville Stadium)

Fitness has always been very important to me, whilst I did not have any intention to be an athlete when I was younger, I always liked to keep active.

Why did you decide to choose the London Marathon and how has training going been going so far?

Although I did not want to do sport as a child, I have always been very keen to do the London Marathon as I remember watching it on the TV and loving all the fancy dress and characters that took part. It is a very important personal goal for me to do the London Marathon as I didn’t get to do it in a racing chair. I think doing it in a day chair is a bigger challenge and goal and will represent a massive achievement for myself. I think postponing 2020 London Marathon was the right thing to do and whilst it was disappointing not to do it, it made me more determined to be even more prepared for 2021 London Marathon. 

Can you tell me about the wheelchair you will be using for the event and who are you doing the challenge for? 

I will be using an Ottobock Ventus, which is my fabulous day chair. It is extremely well built and durable. I’m also proud to be an ambassador for Ottobock, they have been incredibly supportive of my challenge in doing the London Marathon.


Chris testing out his new chair at Stoke Mandeville Stadium (Image: Ottobock UK) 

READ: Chris Rattenbury's Ventus story

I am doing the London Marathon to raise money for WheelPower as I have been incredibly lucky to have amazing support from WheelPower throughout my sporting and personal life. Hopefully, I can raise them alot of money and with your help WheelPower can improve the lives of more disabled people through sport and physical activity. Please give what you can and sponsor me via  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-rattenbury


1 April 2021 - Welcome to Chris's London Marathon Diary 

Chris has been a volunteer with WheelPower for over 10 years and is now one of our fantastic charity ambassadors. He continues to support the charity in every way he can, from day-to-day admin tasks, to informative talks to schools and groups, telling them all about the WheelPower story. This year he is going to be doing the London Marathon in his day chair and with our support we can help him along the way. 


Chris and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Torch

After the postponement of the 2020 London Marathon Chris now has his sights set on the 2021 event and through this online blog we will be following his journey over the coming 6 months and checking in with Chris regularly to see how training is going as he gets closer to the start line on Sunday October 3rd 2021. 

Chris will be taking part in the London Marathon in support of WheelPower and he hopes that you will be cheering him on along the way. With your support you can help him to reach his fundraising goal and by doing so really give him that extra boost to keep on pushing as the training continues.  

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NEXT: Mandy's Virtual  London Marathon Story

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