Southampton man reunited with Twitter team for Blind Veterans UK 100k challenge
3 March 2015 17:07
A Southampton man is once again tackling the Blind Veterans UK London to Brighton 100k walking challenge to raise more vital funds for the charity.
Michael Wheeler, 42 and from Applemore, is joined by a team of fellow participants he met on Twitter before last year's event. He hopes to beat his walking time from last year and is determined to complete it in under 24 hours.
The father of two joined the social media site in search of new experiences like the 100k. Michael said: "I was looking for a challenge and a challenge I found!"
Twitter then led him to other participants; they were drawn together by shared desire to raise as much money for supporting Blind Veterans UK as possible. Having built a strong and supportive team during 2014, they are now training together for this year's event.
Blind Veterans UK provides blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women with lifelong support including rehabilitation, training, welfare support, residential and respite care.
Michael's abiding memory from the event last year is the steep hill at the end of the route. Although it was a tough hurdle at the end of such a challenging 24 hours, Michael has described how amazing it felt to reach the finish-line and be greeted by his children with supportive signs.
He said: "It really is a tough challenge but that's why completing it is so rewarding. I would encourage anyone looking at pushing themselves this year to give the Blind Veterans UK London to Brighton challenge a go."
Michael used to explore the New Forest green lanes in his Land Rover but now opts to walk with his spaniel Hazel. He is eagerly awaiting better weather as he increases his training.
Registration for their biggest annual fundraiser, which kicks off in Putney on Saturday 6th June, is currently open with a registration fee of £50 per participant for the 50km or £75 for the 100km. Teams taking part in the relay have a registration fee of £120. The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes hot food at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.
The event is Blind Veterans UK's largest fundraiser and takes walkers from a starting point in south London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity's centre in Ovingdean, Brighton.
Michael says: "Although tough and demanding, last year was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I met amazing people and collected so many memories. I can't wait to fundraise again for such a great charity".
Blind Veterans UK needs 500 people to take part in the 100k, which will help the charity to continue to provide a lifetime's practical and emotional support to over 4,000 veterans, regardless of when they served and how they lost their sight.
To find out more about Blind Veterans UK's 100k challenge, and to sign up for the event, visit www.blindveterans.org.uk/100k.
To sponsor Michael as he tackles 100k for Blind Veterans UK, please visit www.justgiving.com/Mike100kWalk