More than £6k has been raised for Cornwall’s oldest charity following a marathon challenge.
iSightCornwall’s London Marathon team runners completed the 26.2 mile run on Sunday (Oct 3) following months of cancellations, lockdown training sessions and injuries.
The sight loss charity, which turned 165 this year and supports blind and partially sighted people across the county, cheered on its two teams. The first team was made up of partially sighted runner Claire Parkyn and her guide and best friend Rachel Taylor-Simmonds. The pair have been training since 2019 when they decided to take on the challenge to help support the charity and to also raise awareness about Usher Syndrome, a condition which effects both sight and hearing.
Parkyn, who has the syndrome, has little vision left and relies on hearing aids and a white cane to move around safely.
Initially, she began running on a treadmill but did not have the confidence to take on the obstacles, traffic and potholes around her local village to move to outdoor exercise.
But thanks to her friend’s encouragement, she gave outdoor running a go and before the pair knew it, they had signed on to take on the London Marathon in support of iSightCornwall.
Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the marathon was cancelled in 2020 and rearranged in 2021.
This means the duo, who call themselves My Guide and Me, have been training and trying to keep themselves marathon ready for almost two years.
They were finally able to take on the challenge in its virtual form by running the distance around Mitchell where they live, raising an incredible £4,700 for the charity.
Parkyn said: “After two years of training being hampered by Covid and injuries we finally completed our marathon. It wasn’t the marathon we set out to complete two years ago – running with thousands of other people past all the London landmarks – but we did it. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over these past two years and who cheered us on today.”
In London itself, local teacher Peter Brodey represented iSightCornwall and completed the epic run in just over 3.5 hours, raising £1.5k for the sight loss charity.
He said: “I have a family history of sight loss and eye conditions and wanted to support a small, Cornish charity that has a large impact on the lives of local people. This was my first London Marathon and it was an amazing experience. I was smiling so much for the first 20 miles – it got a bit tougher after that!”
The money raised will be used by iSightCornwall to continue helping people with sight loss in the county. The charity offers a range of services, including low vision, assistive technology, a benefits advisor and emotional and social support with telephone befrienders, social groups and an eye clinic liaison officer.
Carole Theobald, chief executive from iSightCornwall, said: “Congratulations to Claire, Rachel and Peter for their incredible achievements. The money they have raised will help fund vital services for people living with sight loss in Cornwall. We can’t thank them enough.”