The London youngster recovered from serious injury to win the Mini Marathon Boroughs race earlier this year
David Stone won the London Boroughs under-13 event in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon last month despite having been in a wheelchair or on crutches for a large part of last year.
Due to injuries, the 13-year-old has only been able to train and race for 16 of the last 28 months during his short time in athletics.
Last year was particularly difficult as he spent from February to June in a wheelchair and June to August on crutches due to chronic and age-related knee problems – Osteochondritis dissecans in one knee and patella tendinitis in the other.
But he began running again in late October, building his training runs gradually from 500 to 5000 metres, and had his first race back in mid-February when he qualified for Barnet for the Mini Marathon.
It was his first big event since the national road relays in 2013 when he was part of the Shaftesbury Barnet winning under-13 team and the overall winner of the second leg. At that time, aged 11, he had PBs of 4:42 for 1500m and 17:24 for 5km but he now hopes to dip inside 17 minutes and under 4:30 for 1500m this summer.
“I watched diving and gymnastics live at the Olympics and was then inspired watching Mo Farah win his track races on television” – David Stone
His proud father, Sheldon, says: “He kept himself fit through core exercises, swimming and, from July, cycling, although he then developed exercise and cold induced asthma. He realised he was something like back to his best when he ran 9:55.7 for 3000m at the Watford Open on April 8.”
The Mini Marathon race itself didn’t go totally smoothly for David. First he was sick on the coach travelling to the event. Then the 4ft 9in tall athlete was buffeted at the start and fell back to about 50th place during the early stages before clawing his way back into contention.
Eventually he finished sixth overall and top runner not only from the Boroughs but from the south of England. In addition, he raised £1400 for charity to boot.
Elsewhere in the race, the overall winner was Tommy Dawson from Yorkshire and Humberside with Alfie Bould in second place from the North West and another Yorkshire and Humberside runner, Josh Dickinson, third.
Finn Harvey finished runner-up in the Borough Challenge, 28 seconds behind David, making it a one-two for Barnet.
The success was also a case of third-time lucky for David because in addition to missing the 2014 event with injury, he missed the 2013 Mini Marathon after bruising a bone badly in a tobogganing accident.
David, who is coached by Jeremy Sothcott at Shaftesbury Barnet and goes to the same school that international runner Richard Goodman did, says: “I got into athletics after London 2012. I watched diving and gymnastics live at the Olympics and was then inspired watching Mo Farah win his track races on television.”
On the Mini Marathon itself, he says: “The cold weather made my asthma worse and I didn’t feel too good during the race, but there was a great atmosphere at the finish and we were able to watch the end of the men’s marathon later in the morning.”
His father adds: “After showing sheer strength of character, as well as persistent cheerfulness the last eight months, his story might encourage other youngsters who might suffer this or other similar conditions.”
You can find further performance stats on David on Power of 10 here.
» Support young athletes via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk