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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Bradford man with vision loss to run in London Marathon this weekend

Mr Sheikh was supposed to take part last year to celebrate his 50th birthday but the event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

A local man who is partially sighted is excited to take part in the London Marathon this weekend.

Maqsood Sheikh, 51, from Bradford was planning to mark his 50th year by taking part in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon before it got cancelled.

Undeterred, he will be participating in this year’s event on Sunday 3 October to raise money for sight loss charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Along with his guide runner Donna Siberry, who works at RNIB with Maqsood, the pair are looking forward to tying up their running shoes for London Marathon 2021, after successfully raising over £2,000 for the virtual event last year, thanks to support from family and friends.

London Marathon. Image: Tania Dimas.

Maqsood was born with optic atrophy; a condition that affects the optic nerve and can cause blurred vision and impact peripheral vision.

He attended New College Worcester when he was a teenager, and left the school, which offers specialist education for young people with a vision impairment, believing there was no limit to what he could achieve in life.

He now works for RNIB as a Regional Campaigns Officer for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Maqsood said: “I wanted to do something different to mark my 50th year and stepping outside my comfort zone to take part in the London Marathon seemed like the perfect fit. Despite the initial disappointment when the physical event was cancelled, I absolutely loved participating in the virtual event last year.

“However, I am so excited about 3 October as it will be the first time, I’ll be taking part in a mass event like this. It only felt right to raise money for RNIB, a charity that has been there for me since childhood. I’m really looking forward to taking part this year and hopefully, the weather will be on our side!”

The 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October is set to be the largest marathon staged anywhere in the world, with more than 40,000 participants on the traditional course from Blackheath to The Mall and more than 40,000 people completing the 26.2 miles on the course of their choice anywhere in the world between 00:00 and 23:59:59 (BST).

It will be the first time the event has been held on the traditional course since April 2019 as the Covid-19 pandemic meant last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon was made up of elite-only races on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park while a Guinness World Record 37,966 people completed the first-ever virtual Virgin Money London Marathon around the globe.

This year is the first time the London Marathon on its traditional course has been held in October, rather than the spring. The 2021 event was originally scheduled to take place in April but was moved to Sunday 3 October to ensure it had the best chance to go ahead.

This year will be the first time that both the mass and virtual events happen simultaneously. All finishers in the mass and virtual event receive the same finisher’s medal and New Balance T-shirt.

Lizzi Wagner, Senior Challenge Events Manager at RNIB, said: “We’re delighted to have Maqsood and Donna as part of Team RNIB and wish them all the best for race day.

“The money Maqsood raises will help us continue to smash the barriers facing people with sight loss. Please dig deep, support his fundraising efforts and help him reach his target of £3,000!”

The event will be televised live on BBC TV and broadcast around the globe.

To sponsor Mr Sheikh and support RNIB, visit here.

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