Seasoned runner, Martin Ball, ran the ABP Southampton Half Marathon on the 26th of April amid thousands of others. What set him apart? He did it blindfolded.
“I recently ran in a park run event where I saw a partially sighted runner taking part with a guide. I thought it must be incredibly difficult to run blind and was inspired to literally run a mile (or thirteen!) in their shoes.”
Martin has participated in running events in the past, but he wanted use this opportunity to make a difference and raise both awareness and funds for British Blind Sport and Sightsavers. Martin has also built on online fundraising page and filmed his race to document his journey and show his support for others. After having this experience, he advocates for more runners to take an interest in supporting visually impaired sport.
“If I lost my sight, I think being able to participate in sport would make the world of difference to me.”
To prepare for the race, Martin trained with Nick Yates, a friend and fellow runner, over the past few months. Nick acted as a guide runner by giving Martin verbal instructions and leading him through a shared rope. In their training, they completed 5 or 6 practice sessions and did a 5k together, but Martin said it was much different than the actual race. “The crowd and the noise make a big difference; it’s kind of overwhelming and you have to completely rely on your guide.”
“The experience made me realize how lucky I am and how important the work that BBS does. It’s important that people have access to guide runners. I am definitely going to sign up because it’s so simple to do.”
Martin is still raising money and encouraging others to get involved. More information about his fundraising project can be found at: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/runningblind
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1168093). A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company number 10009918. Registered office: Pure Offices, Plato Close, Tachbrook Park, Leamington Spa, CV34 6WE.