Get Inspired: New guide-runner database launched

Visually-impaired runners with guide runners
Visually impaired runners with guide runners

A new national guide-runner database has been launched to encourage more people with a visual impairment to run.

The initiative by England Athletics and British Blind Sport comes after a Sport England survey in December showed 11.8% of adults with a visual impairment take part in sport once a week.

There are currently 112 guide runners on the database, but still several parts of the country not being covered.

The aim is to train more guide runners across England over the next year.

Anyone looking to become a guide runner and get on the database will be required to attend an England Athletics 'Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running' workshop.

The online database is for anyone over 18 with a visual impairment, with the aim of enabling them to go for a run on their own, join a club or running group, or take part in an event or race.

"We hope the database will allow more visually-impaired people to enjoy running, safe in the knowledge they can connect with a guide runner who is trained, vetted and passionate about running," said British Blind Sport chief executive Alaina MacGregor.

Nick Thorley, a visually-impaired runner from Nottingham, runs with an England Athletics licensed guide.

"Running has become a massive part of my life," he said. "It gives me a focus, makes me feel healthier, has increased my confidence and provides a real sense of achievement.

"It's the generosity and commitment of guide runners that makes all this possible."

Wendy Lawson, from Redhill Road Runners in Nottingham, is a guide runner for a visually-impaired runner called Iris.

"I find being a guide so rewarding as any events that I undertake with Iris are about helping her to succeed," she said.

"I love the bond that Iris and I have, we always fall into step with each other."

If you want to find out more about getting into running, read our special guide.