‘Running blind for my boys’

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Running a half marathon is a big challenge for many but Battle Batten dad, Andrew Dawkins, is doing it blindfold.

Andrew, whose twin boys have the neurodegenerative condition, Batten Disease, will be taking on the challenge for the campaign launched through the Dispatch in March.

He will run the route of Nottingham’s Robin Hood Half Marathon on 28th September with friend, and campaign supporter, Suzy Jackson running as his guide.

“Anyone can run a marathon if they put their mind to it but running blind is something else,” said Andrew of Annesley Road, Hucknall, who completed the London Marathon in April.

“Both Freddie and Louie have lost their vision because of Batten’s so I wanted to know how they feel everyday not being able to see.”

Andrew says it is proving a real challenge.

“The first few steps are the worst while I adapt as it makes me feel like I’m in space and my head isn’t on my shoulders.

“Suzy is my guide and acts as my eyes, which is a challenge for her too,” explained Andrew who will be attached to Suzy throughout the event by a bungee cord. “We are learning as we go but Suzy sometimes forgets to warn me about things like road humps which can prove tricky.”

The pair started their training about four weeks ago with Andrew saying the blindfold has heightened his senses during his runs.

“I could smell Suzy’s perfume one day, which I wouldn’t have noticed before, and I also heard a duck which Suzy hadn’t picked up on.

“I haven’t fallen over yet but I have stepped in a few unpleasant things along the route,” added Andrew. “It is still easier for me though as I can visualise the route in my head but for Freddie and Louie this isn’t possible. It has enabled me to get a sense of their situation and other people with vision problems.

“We are determined to be ready for the event in September and hope to boost the appeal with more sponsors.”

Andrew can be sponsored for the event through the Battle Batten Just Giving page.