Dave Heeley: Sports Personality of the Year

Jamie MasonCorrespondent IApril 16, 2008

This week saw London stage the annual Flora London Marathon where thousands of athletes from around the world try to beat each other to glory. 

It also allows tens of thousands of people to push themselves to the limit in the name of charity but there was one person in particular who deserves special credit.

Two weeks ago Dave Heeley would've only been known to people in his local area but last week he managed to make history. 

Many people have run marathons but Dave Heeley managed seven marathons in seven days on seven continents and what makes this achievement even more spectacular is the fact Heeley is blind.

Running for the charity "Guide Dogs" and assisted by his friend and fellow runner Malcolm Carr, the runners began their attempt in the Falkland Islands (Antarctica) where they were greeted with a tornado fly past before setting off on their journey. 

They completed the run in a time of  four hours and 14 seconds. After a quick rub down they boarded a private jet to enable them to reach Brazil and Rio De Janeiro.

The heat in Brazil wore the runners down slightly even so they still managed to complete the run in a time of four hours and 45 minutes. 

Next step, Los Angeles.

There was now no more private flights for Dave, he knew that if he was to complete his attempt he was in the hands of the airlines and one delay would cost him dearly.

Luckily, he arrived on time in LA to complete their marathon and word had spread about this attempt as more and more people were gathering to be a part of this achievement, people even running alongside Dave and Malcolm to spur them in case fatigue started to take its toll. 

Just over four hours later, leg three was complete and now time for Sydney.

11 laps around Sydney’s Centennial Park would see stage four complete and he managed this in another amazing time of four hours and 44 minutes.  Injuries and jet lag would've taken its toll on most people but for Dave Heeley and his entourage, it was off to Dubai.

Again with fatigue and muscle soreness starting to wear the runners down the last thing they needed was the 30 degree heat beating down on them as they took on the Dubai marathon. 

After completing nearly 100 miles of running and four continents a time of four hours and 44 minutes was all it took to notch another continent of the list and now it was time for Africa and more specifically Tunisia. 

Four hours and 45 minutes and one police escort later, the rush was on for the final leg of the journey in London where he was to compete in the London marathon.

With the end near, the crowds gathered and news spread throughout England about what Dave had achieved and he was roared on all the way by the waiting public. 

After running over 160 miles in 160 hours, Dave completed his final leg in five hours and 20 minutes, spurring him on at the finish line was his wife and kids waiting with open arms to congratulate him on what is simply an amazing feat.

Every year in the UK a professional athlete, whether it is football, cricket or rugby, is awarded the accolade of Sports Personality Of The Year and although Dave isn't a professional sportsman his feat deserves special recognition and this award along with a knighthood is the least he deserves.

Continents and times:

Antartica (Falklands) 4hrs 14m, South America (Brazil) 4hrs 45m, North America (Los Angeles) 4hrs 35m, Australasia (Sydney) 4hrs 44m, Asia (Dubai) 4hrs 45m, Africa (Tunisia) 4hrs 45m and Europe (London) 5hrs 20m.