Dorset Blind Association’s annual run returned to Bournemouth this week. Students from the University raced between the piers of Bournemouth and Boscombe to help raise money for charity.
Instead of your normal everyday race, it came with a slight twist. Runners paired up and took it in turns to be blindfolded, experiencing what it is like to suffer with the condition.
For one half of the race, a member of the pair would be blindfolded and guided by their team-mate. For the second half of the race the roles reversed, the blindfolded runner now became the guide.
A total of 12 people took to the promenade to take on the 5km challenge, raising over £350 for Dorset Blind Association.
The event was jointly organised by Dorset Blind Association and Bournemouth’s Student Union society RAG.
Organiser, Emily King, said: “Being blindfolded adds its own unique challenge. It takes away your sense of balance and sense of direction. It will certainly be a challenge for them”.
She added: “We wanted to do a new event that was related to the charity. In order to raise awareness we did a blindfolded run. Dorset Blind have done some of these in the past and they have worked really well.”
Amanda Codrey, fundraiser for the charity, said the run is designed to help visually impaired people.
She said: “We are the only charity that covers the whole of Dorset which helps visually impaired people. Currently, there are only two of us on the fundraising team. We are desperately searching for more volunteers. It’s not a very well know charity or cause in the area.”
She added: “There is a really good turn out today. It’s nice to see so many new faces taking part in the run. It’s really nice to have so many people behind the cause.”
10 volunteers from the University volunteered, scattering themselves along the beachfront. Cheerleaders from the University also came along to boost the spirit amongst the runners and the public.
Sarah Allerton was one of the runners in the race. She spoke about what it was like being blindfolded: “It was really weird. You really begin to notice other things like how the ground feels and the atmosphere around you”.
Seamus O’dare also ran in the race, he said: “It was absolutely terrifying to begin with. I felt like it took up more energy as you tried to figure out how to run, talking and communicating. When I was running without a blindfold it was so much easier.”
Among the winners were Andrew Davis and Sarah Allerton. The first prize included paint balling tickets for 10 people. The second and third prize was a £5 voucher for Dylans Bar located on Bournemouth University’s campus.
The race runs alongside the famous Bournemouth Bay Run, in association with the British Heart Foundation. The race is set to take place Sunday, 2nd April.
Currently in Dorset over 5,600 people are registered as blind or partially sighted. An estimated total of 30,000 people are living with serious sight loss. That accounts to 4% of the population! To help make a difference, donate here: http://dorsetblind.org.uk.