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Running the London Marathon

Published on 3 Jul 2024

Did you win a place in the ballot for the 2025 London Marathon? Read about three supporters who took part in this year's London Marathon.

Stephanie

Stephanie was spurred on after a chance meeting with a blind veteran who ran in the first ever London Marathon.

This was Stephanie's third London Marathon having first taken on the challenge in 2022. Each year she has been joined by a team of her work colleagues from Thea Pharmaceuticals as part of their ongoing employee fundraising for our charity.

Stephanie running in the London Marathon wearing a Blind Veterans UK T-shirt displaying her name. Steph is smiling with her thumbs up.
Stephanie during the 2023 London Marathon
Stephanie and Mike are stood together in front of the 'Victory over Blindness' sculpture depicting a group of soldiers from the First World War leading one another away from the battlefield. Mike is holding hi white cane.
Supporter Stephanie meets blind veteran Mike at our Llandudno Centre

Stephanie says:

"What spurred me on the most this year was a chance encounter with 87-year-old blind veteran Mike, who ran in the first London Marathon in 1987, during a visit to the Blind Veterans UK Centre of Wellbeing in Llandudno."

When Stephanie and Mike met each other, Stephanie happened to mention she was running the London Marathon and Mike shared his London Marathon story with her. He says:

"I ran in nine London Marathons between 1981 and 1989. The first London Marathon was nothing like we see today, there were only 2,000 runners.
"When I spoke to Stephanie, I was envious of her as I loved to run, and I can't do it anymore. Marathon running is addictive, I used to go out for a run everyday."

Mike wished Stephanie the best of luck and his advice to her and to all marathon runners is to run your own race. He says:

"The worst thing you can do is to try and keep up at the beginning. Trundle along at your own pace and do your best."

Will

Will had two very loyal supporters cheering him on for the London Marathon. 

Poppy and Mollie, aged just six and nine, were not only there on the day but they also got stuck in and helped him with his fundraising in the run up to the day. The girls ran a cake sale outside their home and raised just under £400.

 

Mum Rachel with her arms around Mollie and Poppy as they stand behind a table full of cakes and Blind Veterans UK flags
Mollie and Poppy at their cake sale with their mum Rachel
Mollie, Poppy and Will stand behind the table with cakes and Blind Veterans UK flags
Mollie and Poppy with their Dad

Will says:

"I was incredibly proud of Poppy and Mollie for supporting me and raising such a fantastic amount of money."

Will decided to run the London Marathon in support of our charity as his brother served in the Army with the Royal Duke of Lancaster Regiment and therefore he felt it was pertinent to him to run for a military charity and to honour those who sacrifice so much for us.

"The idea of losing my sight terrifies me; the work of this charity to rehabilitate those who have served their country and assist them in rebuilding their lives after sight loss struck a chord with me.
"I love running and there is nothing quite like the experience of the London Marathon. I also really enjoy going out for training runs; it is great for my mental health."

Naz

Blind veteran Naz completed his second London Marathon this year in six hours and 35 minutes alongside his guide runner Richard who works at our Centre of Wellbeing in Rustington.

Naz and Richard with their medals around their necks
Blind veteran Naz and his guide runner Richard with their medals

Army veteran Naz took part in his first London Marathon in 2021. He says:

"The London Marathon is one of our country's biggest sporting events and I always wanted to take part in it. When Richard contacted me to ask if I wanted to do it again this year, I thought 'why not'.
"It was hard; at 13 miles I really started to struggle but I managed to keep going. I was almost walking at the end but I made it.
"Richard was a fantastic guide, he knows me well and knew when to push me and when not to, along with the atmosphere, he got me around the course."

Richard tells Naz where obstacles are that he can't see for himself such as kerbs, people stopping suddenly or bottles on the floor. Naz says:

"I was very emotional when I crossed the line, I collapsed onto my knees. It was a mixture of pure exhaustion and the pride of my huge achievement. I never thought I would be able to take part in the London Marathon, but with the support of Blind Veterans UK, I've been able to achieve it for the second time and I'm motivated to take it on again next year."

Have you just found out you have a space for the London Marathon 2025 and would like to fundraise in support of our blind veterans, or did you miss out and would like to join the list for a charity space?

Email the Community Partnerships team to find out more

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