An amazing 225 people took part in our debut Marathon Mates virtual event this September.
Together, they covered a total of 2,246 miles and raised more than £33,000 for RNIB.
Launched this year, Marathon Mates allowed pairs to split a marathon distance (26.2 miles) between them across September, side by side or miles apart. We learnt a lot from this year's launch event and look forward to making it even better in 2021.
In the meantime, a big thank you to everyone who took part in our first Marathon Mates. Here are just some of the highlights:
Buckinghamshire-based Marcus Moore ran 315 kilometres, the equivalent of seven marathons, over the month. Marcus, and his running partner Aidan, decided to take the original 26.2 mile challenge more than a step further by setting themselves the goal of running 10 kilometres every day in September.
Marcus, who works for IT company XMA, said: “I’ve worked with RNIB through my job for over 10 years, so I know the amazing work the charity does to help the blind and partially sighted community. I don’t normally run regularly, so this was definitely a challenge, and sometimes I found it hard to get going, but I felt much healthier and fitter after running every day.”
He completed the distance, raising more than £3,400, despite having some injuries to his ankles and knees, and continued the daily challenge after his running partner had to drop out due to health complications. He said: “Right now, it can feel like we’re being bombarded with negative news, and that gets overwhelming. I found it very helpful to have an hour every day to just focus on running and the challenge, and it was really fulfilling knowing that I was raising money while doing it.”
Jessica Hudson, a youth support worker in Hebden Bridge and her husband Ian ran the 26.2 miles together. Jessica was registered blind last year after being diagnosed with Stargardt’s macular degeneration, a genetic eye disorder that causes progressive vision loss, a condition that also affects her brother, Dan. The siblings were originally incorrectly diagnosed in their early twenties with a different sight loss condition, and have received support from RNIB since their revised diagnosis last year.
Jessica said: “I’m not a natural runner, but knowing that I’m running to raise money for RNIB has given me great motivation to get going. My husband has been running with me and guiding me as we run along a canal in 5-kilometre bursts. I’m usually very competitive so it took me a while to get used to Ian running ahead of me, as my natural instinct is to try to be at the front!
Allan Russell from Bishopton near Glasgow signed up with guide dog Quigley and his daughter Laura (27). Allan lost his sight in 2001 to an inherited, degenerative condition called Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. He works as a producer-presenter for the multi-award-winning RNIB Connect Radio station based in Partick.
"We'd all been working from home during the lockdown period," Allan says. "I haven't done much running since I was in the high school athletics team, competing around Scotland but I pounded the streets around Dargavel Village, where I live, beside Bishopton. The route I planned had a circuit that's two miles.
"My daughter Laura ran in Renfrew, where she lives, and we kept in touch via our smartphones. We did about 13.1 miles each, probably two or four miles a day, depending on work and the weather."
Alex McDowell, head of public fundraising at RNIB, said: "With the limitations on mass physical events, we were keen to offer people a different way to become part of Team RNIB. Marathon Mates is a new idea but thanks to the commitment of our 225 pioneers, it made a successful debut.
"Marathon Mates was a brand new event this year, so a huge thank you to the 225 people who blazed a trail for the many more in the future. As with anything new, we’ve learned a lot about how to make this innovative event, which has our mission of creating a more inclusive world at its core, even bigger and better for next year."