Two Dutch runners inspired the rest of the pack at the Great Wall Marathon, by completing the half-marathon race despite each only having one leg.

“Every time, I say the same thing. Two years ago I said: ‘the Great Wall Marathon, I can’t do it’, and here I am,” said Michael-Robbery Brans, who ran on crutches, having lost his leg to cancer.

“Every time I finish a challenge I say: ‘this is the toughest one’, but for sure, this was the toughest one,” he added.

The Great Wall Marathon takes runners over some of the steepest sections of the famous wonder and even the fittest athletes are forced to use their hands to climb staircases. But for Brans, who was effectively single leg squatting and tricep dipping his way up the slopes, it was a whole new level.

Watch: Taking on the Great Wall Marathon

“My hands – they are burning. Every muscle is in pain. My skin is tough but it’s the pressure,” he said.

Brans and his fellow Dutchman Rick Geurtsen take part in a number of obstacle course races.

Following a motorcycle accident, and then opting for amputation as his leg failed to heal, Geursten wore a blade for the race.

“I was nervous and I had doubts,” Geurtsen said on the finish line. “But it was very smooth. It’s a relief, a weight off my shoulders. I was so nervous to get the job done.”

The blade fits on his knee by gripping the outside of his leg, rather than relying on the pressure of his weight. So, it would rub and cause blisters. Usually when he competes he runs alone, but he had a partner for the Great Wall Marathon so he could switch between his blade and his everyday prosthetic leg.

“This is a once in a life time opportunity and I didn’t want to get it wrong just because I don’t have the right gear with me,” he said.

Brans said he participates in sports to make a point.

“We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do more than sit at home,” he said. “We wanted to prove we could do the normal sports, not adaptive. There are adaptive sports, enough, we have Paralympics, enough, we wanted to show as adaptive men we could take part in the normal sports.”

Although, they do want to inspire other adaptive athletes they think they can have a profound effect on the fully abled runners too.

“When they go over the wall and they see us, they are thinking about it and when they go home they are still thinking about it,” Bran said, adding it gives others a new perspective on their own lives.

For Geurtsen, he wants to blaze a trail for others with similar difficulties to them.

“It’s for the ones who want to go to sport but don’t know how to enter it,” he said. “We show how to take the first obstacle – starting it.”