Ahead of the weekend’s TCS London Marathon, sports retailers Wiggle and New Balance have teamed up with the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) to bring braille banners of support to the event.
Huw Crwys-Williams, CEO at Wiggle commented:
“By partnering with New Balance and our extraordinary charity partner RSBC, we hope to create a special moment for vision impaired runners taking on this amazing challenge.”
35 vision impaired and blind runners are set to take on the challenge this Sunday 2 October, alongside their guides, with hundreds of others racing in support of charities for blind and vision impaired beneficiaries.
This year, messages of encouragement will line Miles 20 and 23 of the marathon course in braille form, so vision impaired runners can literally feel the support of the spectators.
Located on the left-hand side of the barriers, guide runners will be encouraged to gradually move the vision impaired runners over to the left of the course as they approach Miles 20 and 23, so that they can feel the braille as they pass.
Regarded as one of the hardest parts of the race, Mile 20 – at Poplar High Street – marks the distance at which most runners will cap their training before the big day. To give them one final push when they need it most, the braille banners will stretch the course of the mile and will reappear at Mile 23 on Lower Thames Street, where earlier this year RSBC opened its Life Without Limits Centre for blind and partially sighted children and their families.
Shalni Sood, Director of Philanthropy at The Royal Society of Blind Children said:
“We were delighted to partner with New Balance and Wiggle to represent and inspire vision impaired runners at this year’s marathon. It’s great to see a more inclusive and welcoming approach – the banners are a great example of this! We would love to encourage more organisations in the sports industry to actively support the participation of vision impaired people. We hope to see more of the same in future!”