Campaigners are poised for a run on the blind side

On marks: James Coulton, Alison Mason, Kevin Lonergan and Elly Pomeroy

On marks: James Coulton, Alison Mason, Kevin Lonergan and Elly Pomeroy

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ON your marks, get set, go!

The countdown is on for a charity run with a difference –where the competitors will be blindfolded.

We both run together holding onto the ends of a short piece of rope. Although it sounds obvious, communication is the key to being a good guide

Preston-based sight loss charity Galloway’s Society for the Blind has launched the region’s first ever Blindfold Run and is calling on people to ‘Find a friend, Wear a blindfold and RUN 5K’.

It will take place along Morecambe Promenade on Sunday, May 17, and in addition to raising awareness of the everyday challenges that people living with sight loss face, it is hoped that this quirky new event will help them to raise funds for vital services.

As well as the 5k run, there will also be a shorter one-mile family fun run.

David Powell, 54, from Lancaster, began to lose his sight in his early teens and is now registered blind, is also a keen runner and has completed numerous marathons and half marathons with the help of a running guide.

He began running to combat weight gained as a side effect of medication he was put on when his sight loss was first diagnosed, and he has kept on running ever since.

He said of his guide: “We both run together holding onto the ends of a short piece of rope. Although it sounds obvious, communication is the key to being a good guide.

“I need to know if there are any obstacles coming up, changes in the running surface, twists and turns or if we need to slow down in a crowd et cetera.

“It is also nice for me to know a bit about where we are running and what the scenery is like.

“It’s all about keeping relaxed, enjoying the experience and building up the trust between me and my guide. Running gives me not only a real sense of achievement but also one of freedom.”

Emma Russ, senior fundraiser for Galloway’s, said: “This year we have to raise £1m to continue our services for the increasing number of blind and partially sighted people living within the local community.

“We do this through our talking newspapers, guided holidays and activities, drop in days, IT classes, emotional support and much more.

“To put it simply, we would be unable to do this without people in our local community going the extra mile in support of our work.”

To find out more about the Blindfold Run, call Emma on 01772 744148 or to sign up please visit https://gallowaysblindfoldrun.eventbrite.co.uk