Update: After months of preparation, training, and excitement, blind runner Simon Wheatcroft came this close to finishing the Costwold 100 ultramarathon this past Saturday. Wheatcroft, who suffers from a degenerative eye disease and has been legally blind for over 11 years, was able to keep up at a competitive pace during the early stages of the race. But after a cringe-worthy three-mile-long incline around mile 83, the race had taken its toll on his body and he had to stop.
Certainly, a DNF is a disappointing result for Wheatcroft, who shared his running experiences with the world through blogging. But he plans to try again at the 2012 Costwold 100. He's only taking a week off before picking up his strict training regimen.
June 25, 2011
Blind Man Runs 100 Mile Ultra-Marathon
If you've ever run a marathon, you know how gruelling it can be. Well, imagine running one and you're blind. A British man named Simon Wheatcroft is running his first ultra-marathon - 100 miles through the British countryside, which means lots of hills and chances are, rain.
Simon is 29. He's been legally blind for 11 years, due to a degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa. His eyesight has deteriorated to the point where he can't see people standing in front of him. For the past few months, he's been training 17 hours a week, running on a quiet stretch of road.
He's been using global positioning apps on his mobile phone, to help him memorize the route. As he runs the ultra-marathon, Simon has 10 runners as guides. Each of the guides run with him for 10 miles. Two are tethered to him during the night part of the run. During the day, he listens to the guide as they go.
Simon is raising money for a charity called SightSaves, which works to save the vision of children in developing countries. Eventually, he plans to run the 135-mile Badwater race across Death Valley in America, to raise even more money for charity.
You can follow Simon live online in several ways - those details can be found here.