A man from Devon and a team of his work colleagues are running the London marathon to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Chris Martin, who is 42 and from Newton Abbot, will be taking on the 26.2-mile London Marathon on 23 April.
“Towards the end of last year, two blind veterans shared their recovery stories with the company I work for. The presentation was so inspiring that within 20 minutes, five volunteers from the company had put themselves forward to run the London Marathon on behalf of Blind Veterans UK and a Seetec team was born.
“Seetec is an organisation that supports people from all backgrounds to breakdown the barriers which prevent them from getting a job or accessing services. We come across people affected by a range of injuries and long-term illnesses and to hear blind veterans Simon Brown and Kevin Alderton talk about their journey and the support they’ve received from Blind Veterans UK is really motivating and fits so well with the ethos and goals of Seetec.
“I’m a veteran myself having served in the Royal Navy for two years and have a mutual respect for all Service men and women. I also have a friend who lost an eye last year as a result of cancer so the presentation we had from Simon and Kevin really caught my attention and peaked my interest. My friend still has some sight but it’s made me more aware of the difficulties and adjustments that need to be made.”
Chris ran the London Marathon for the first time in 2022 but for many of the team, this will be their first experience of the event and of running that distance.
“My experience of the London Marathon last year was off the back of having Covid so this time round I am going to give it a proper go and I hope to finish in under four hours. I also have the added incentive of doing it for Blind Veterans UK which helps to put the pain into context. The pain of running is temporary, but blind veterans face their challenges for the rest of their lives.
“The day of the marathon itself is an assault on the senses, nothing at all can prepare you for taking part in this iconic event.
“It’s fantastic also to be doing it as part of a team, we’re sharing training tips and there’s a real camaraderie between us.
“We all want to do our very best for Blind Veterans UK and make a positive difference in the lives of blind veterans that the charity supports.”
If you would like to support Chris and the Seetec team in reaching their £5,495 target for Blind Veterans UK, please visit their JustGiving page.
If you are inspired by Chris and the Seetec team and would like to take on a challenge for Blind Veterans UK visit the charity’s website: blindveterans.org.uk/fundraise.
Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country but knows there are many thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit blindveterans.org.uk/support.