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Cancer Survivor Breaks World Record for Marathon on Crutches at the 2023 London Marathon

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If you enjoy following the professional running scene, you were undoubtedly thrilled watching the 2023 London Marathon unfold. 

Both the men’s and women’s races saw newer marathon runners capitalize on their leg speed to dominate the veterans as they sprinted to the finish line to break the tape.

The 2023 London Marathon men’s champion, 23-year-old Kenyan runner  Kelvin Kiptum nearly broke the men’s marathon world record, clocking in at a blazing 2:01:25. 

His marathon time placed him second on the list of all-time fastest marathon performances in history, and a mere 16 seconds behind Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 marathon world record that he set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon.

The 2023 London Marathon women’s champion, Sifan Hassan, used her track speed to outkick the entire field en route to victory, winning the race in a time of 2:18:33.

While the professional races were indeed exciting, there were also some other incredible performances further back in the pack.

One of the most inspiring stories to come out of the 2023 London Marathon was the remarkable race performance of 30-year-old Adam Lever from Beeston, Nottinghamshire.

Adam Lever finished the London Marathon in five hours, 42 minutes, and 55 seconds (5:42:55).

While this marathon time landed Lever further down in the London Marathon results, his performance was truly outstanding, as Lever completed the entire 26.2-mile marathon on crutches.

In 2011, Adam Lever was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that manifested in a tumor in his left leg.

In order to save the limb and beat his disease into remission, Lever had to have surgery to excise the tumor and save the limb. This required him to have a full knee joint replacement.

In addition to needing chemotherapy, Lever had to learn how to walk again. 

It took two years to beat the aggressive cancer into remission, and Lever saw the 2023 London Marathon as a great opportunity to honor the 10-year anniversary of this momentous triumph. 

Lever reports that he was “sporty” before he got cancer, and his London Marathon run exemplifies the tremendous work he has put in over the last 10 years to regain mobility and athleticism despite seemingly dire odds.

Furthermore, not only was Lever’s London Marathon run inspiring in its own right to cancer survivors, individuals battling cancer, everyday runners, and the population at large, but this determined cancer survivor also raised more than £13,000 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust through fundraising efforts for the race.

As such, Adam Lever’s London Marathon performance smashed both of his slated goals: raising at least £10,000 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust and breaking six hours in the marathon.

In fact, Lever’s 5:42:55 London Marathon finish time breaks the current world record time for a marathon on crutches by over 40 minutes.

However, as with all entries into the Guinness World Records, Lever noted that he will need to submit an application to Guinness World Records to make his new time for running a marathon on crutches official.

You can follow Adam Lever in his pursuit to inspire other runners and cancer survivors and be an advocate for the Bone Cancer Research Trust on his Instagram account here or Twitter account here.

You can find the full results of the London Marathon here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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