Visually impaired runner Sha takes on iconic London Marathon

In August 20/21, I suffered a catastrophic deterioration in my eyesight due to a rare genetic condition. My Mental Health took a huge hit and I turned to running to try stabilise my emotions.
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I've lived in lovely Milton Keynes for just over 20 years and consider myself a local. My life as I knew it changed in the summer of 2021 when my sight rapidly deteriorated in a space of just two weeks.

My confidence took a huge hit and I needed supportive people around me who I could completely turn to. My amazing family stepped up then my friends and community ,and in a very short time my life changed. Thus was never my plan and everything was affected.

I worried about how I would do the things I always did. I found myself in a very dark place and a friend recommended I start running.

Sha and Guide Runner Runner Marco Sha and Guide Runner Runner Marco
Sha and Guide Runner Runner Marco

The last time I ran was in school, but I knew I needed to keep open-mind and try anything I could as I needed to come out the deep rut I was in.

I was shocked by my consultant when he informed me I would need to use a long white cane. My first thought was "That's for blind people", and he gently helped me realise that this was the new me. I struggled to come to terms with my white cane, but now we are best of friends and I could not do without my cane.

I am also in the process of applying for a Guide Dog, so watch this space.

With support from the extremely close knit running community, the most kind and caring people, I did the couch to 5k. Having a severe sight impairment, I realised I needed to run with a tether, held tightly by a Guide Runner next to me. It was really difficult, but I soon realised that when I placed complete trust in them, I ran more relaxed.

Redway Runners quickly put out a message to runners to volunteer, and I have now made friends with some of the kindest and most caring people in Milton Keynes, people I trust to guide me.

I then decided to expand my horizons and was granted B2 Classification by Athletics England, an internationally recognised qualification and base requirement to be considered for Paralympics.

This, with a very high level of support from my running club, I will be running the iconic London Marathon, an absolute dream come true.

My wish is to encourage and inspire people to consider being more active, no matter their level of ability.

The benefits are incredible and will make you realise what potential lies within you. I am also passionate about the white cane and enjoy raising awareness of this, it's not good enough that so many people do not understand what it represents and I hope to change this.

So if you happen to see me around the city please say hi and if you see us running around, please beep your horn, as this way I am assured I live in a world where I am not alone.

Find me @shagoesfar.

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