Mike Scholes and Chris Merrylees run the Virgin London Marathon

23 April 2013 16:00

35 year old Norfolk runner Chris Merrylees became a first time running guide in this year’s Sunday’s London Marathon for a blind veteran he didn’t meet until the day of the race.

35 year old Norfolk runner Chris Merrylees became a first time running guide in this year's Sunday's London Marathon for a blind veteran he didn't meet until the day of the race. Chris agreed to guide Mike Scholes, a member of Blind Veterans UK, just three weeks before the race after a plea from Blind Veterans UK on Twitter and Facebook.

59 year old former member of the Navy's Fleet Air Arm Mike Scholes lost his sight due to Leber's optic neuropathy but that has not prevented him from pursuing his great love of running. And this year he was feeling particularly confident about getting a better than ever time in the London Marathon. That was until his running guide had to withdraw due to injury just three weeks before the marathon!

Mike contacted Blind Veterans UK and we were happy to send out a request to our followers on Twitter. It wouldn't be easy to find a guide as Mike is extremely fast and needed someone who could do the Marathon in less than 3 hours, but within just an hour, 35 year old Chris Merrylees stepped up to offer himself as Mike's guide. Although Chris has never guided a blind runner before he can match Mike in stamina.

Chris says: "I had only pulled out of the Marathon 2 days previous, for purely selfish reasons of not feeling confident of getting a time I was after, seemed a bit daft, the London Marathon is a great event with the crowds. Being able to offer support to someone else is a great feeling, I'm just as excited and apprehensive as I would be if I was aiming for my own time. I've spoke with Mike last week to go through a few things with training and also the support and guidance Mike is looking for. Being able to give something back to the sport I enjoy so much is another reason."

The duo finished the marathon in 3 hours 19 minutes, which is an outstanding time! Chris said: "I only met Mike at 08.00 Sunday morning, the London Marathon was a great race, I really enjoyed the experience, Mike dug deep to run the whole way after finding things tough going from about 18. Thank you for the opportunity to help Mike".

If you'd like to get involved in one of our many fundraising events this year, visit our events calendar to see what's coming up soon. Are you tough enough to walk 100km in 24 hours or cycle 100km around London at night? We have the event to test your limits & fitness!