Blind veteran prepares for marathon less than a month after 55-mile Cycle Ride
A blind veteran is busy preparing for a marathon less than a month after spending nearly five hours on a tandem bike completing the London to Brighton Cycle Ride.
Andy, who is 48 and from Aldershot in Hampshire, is running the London Marathon on 2 October to raise money and awareness for our charity.
Just three weeks earlier Andy and his son challenged themselves to the 55 mile cycle ride, also raising money for our charity.
Andy and his son on their tandem
“I have been fitting in training for the marathon around the training I was doing on the tandem bike, the cycle ride was a completely new challenge for me.
“Towards the end of the 4 hours and 51 minutes there was a lot of shouting between my son and I, and my son has said “never again!”
“I am, however, no stranger to marathons, this will be my seventh London Marathon. I take on these sporting challenges to raise money and awareness for Blind Veterans UK who gave me back my confidence after losing my sight.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I always start and I always finish the challenges that I set myself. It doesn’t matter if you’re super fit or a plodder like me. It’s about raising awareness, raising funds and having fun along the way.
“It’s incredibly rewarding when I’m running along and people in the crowd are shouting my name, I know at that moment that they are reading my t-shirt and recognising that I am running for Blind Veterans UK. It makes it worthwhile.
“My wife and my children tend to stand around the 13-mile mark and this spurs me on to keep going.”
Andy joined the Army in 1992 and spent 19 years with the Royal Logistics Corps. It was at the age of 37 that retinitis pigmentosa caused a gradual decline in his sight which meant he was forced to retire early from the military.
Andy has reduced peripheral vision and can only see around 30 metres in front of him. He said:
“I’ll have a guide by my side throughout the marathon and I put my complete trust in them to help me safely navigate people, speed bumps, kerbs or raised potholes, the sorts of things that other runners don’t need to think about.”
In 2011 Andy discovered our charity and we've been supporting him ever since.
“Blind Veterans UK has invested a lot of time over the years to help me rebuild my life when I’d lost all hope.
“When I first came to the charity I was feeling sorry for myself, but they made me realise what was possible and gave me the confidence to start doing physical activities again and get back to work.
“I love to get stuck into these personal challenges to give back to the charity that has supported me so much.”
Show your support for Andy and his guide Hannah and help them to reach their fundraising target