Sheffield's 'Captain Tobias' sets off on new marathon challenge
A disabled Sheffield schoolboy who captured the nation’s hearts during lockdown by completing a marathon with his walking frame has set himself another charity challenge.
Nine-year-old Beauchief boy Tobias Weller - who has cerebral palsy and autism - finished his ‘ginormous journey’ earlier this month after 70 days, raising more than £100,000 in the process.
Now, ‘Captain Tobias’ as he became known in honour of inspirational WWII veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore, hopes to run the same distance using a specially-designed race runner.
Tobias’ mum, Ruth Garbutt, said he had used one before for a few minutes at a disability sports day at EIS, but after he practiced with it briefly on Saturday, he just wanted to get going on Sunday.
She said: “He ran for the first time in his life which was a fairly incredible moment for him. He absolutely loved it.
“The runner is totally different than the walker and works totally different muscles but once he gets the hang of it he will be able to go much faster.
“But all the neighbours are still out clapping and cheering as they have been every step of the way.”
Race runners are custom-built tricycles used by cerebral palsy athletes to compete in races which have three wheels to aid balance, a seat and chest support and handlebars to steer.
Tobias got his on loan from CP Teens, an organisation which supports children and young people with cerebral palsy run by Chesterfield-based race running athlete Ellie Simpson.
“We watched a world championship race which Ellie was in and he was interested in it - but they go really fast,” said Ruth.
“Maybe it is something he could look to do in the future but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
Tobias has now raised £128,861 since March, with the money to be split equally between Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s charity and his school, Paces in High Green.
When he set off on his first marathon challenge in March, his initial target was to raise just £500.
To contribute to Tobias’ fund visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ruth-garbutt-3.