Michael Beynon recently became the first Welsh person with Down syndrome to complete the London marathon, and in doing so raised over £3000 for Mencap.
When he was a child his mother, Erika, was warned by doctors that due to a muscle condition Michael was likely to spend a lot of his life using a wheelchair. He has gone on to compete in the Special Olympics and has won over 60 medals in events including shot put, boccia, long jump, and track.
We recently caught up with Michael to find out a bit more…
Tell us a bit about your running background. When did you start and what is it that you love about running?
I started running when I was 10 years old with my step dad for exercise. I like running because I like being outside in the fresh air.
Why did you decide to take on the challenge of running a marathon?
I’ve wanted to run the London marathon for over 6 years, watching it on TV every year. It looks fun.
How did you feel on the day? Any particular high or low points? Did you have lots of support along your route?
I was excited, we had fun. My stepdad, mam and Katie, my PA, ran with me for the first half. In the second half I was joined by my friends from the Special Olympics and Amman Valley Mencap. My high point was people stopping to wish me good luck, cars hooting and getting to the finishing line.
Where did you choose to run the marathon?
I ran the Marathon on two paths which I train on – Amman Valley Cycle race and Mynydd Mawr Forest park.
What does it mean to you to have completed the London marathon?
I’m so proud of myself.
Would you like to run another marathon again in the future? What challenge do you have your sights set on next?
I want to run the Marathon in London next year.
Tell us a bit about your life outside of running. What else do you enjoy doing?
I own a Welsh cake making business. I have many hobbies – dancing, walking, painting, writing stories. I also compete in the Special Olympics in athletics, skiing and other sports.
What would you say to anyone who wants to take on a challenge like you have, but thinks they can’t?
Everyone can take on any challenge they want, just give 100% to it and you will achieve it.
What an inspiration! Thanks Michael, for taking the time to talk to us.