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VISUALLY-IMPAIRED RUNNER AND FORMER WHEELCHAIR USER TO TAKE ON SANDRINGHAM 5K TO RAISE MONEY FOR SIGHT LOSS CHARITY

15th May 2022
Visually impaired runner Rachael Andrews training for the Sandringham 5K with guide Rob Collins sm

A visually-impaired Norwich woman who used to be a wheelchair user is to take on the Sandringham 5K run to raise money for Norfolk’s sight loss charity Vision Norfolk.

Rachael Andrews, who is 50 this year, suffered retinal damage in her 20s and now has no sight in one eye and no central vision in the other.  She also suffers from fibromyalgia, but new medication has given her much improved mobility, after having been an occasional wheelchair user.

Now she is set to take on the 5km run on the Sandringham estate on 19th June – guided by Vision Norfolk fundraising manager and keen runner Rob Collins.

The pair will be tethered together throughout the race, with Rob providing a constant commentary on the terrain to guide Rachel.

“I am going to be totally reliant on Rob, as I don’t know where I’m putting my foot until I put it down,” said Rachael, who has been training with Rob on the streets around her Thorpe home.

“I’m not a runner – I’m genuinely rubbish at it,” she said.  “Usually there is no way I would be running unless the bar was closing.  But this is something on my bucket list to do before I turn 50 later in the year.”

Rachael, who usually gets around with the help of her guide dog Ajay, has been running socially with the Norwich Hash House Harriers since her new medication improved her mobility, but this is the first time she will be running in such a large, organised event surrounded by so many other runners.

“I don’t have a target time in mind – I just want to finish it without having to walk any of it,” said Rachael.  “It will be a real sense of achievement, and hopefully Rob and I will raise a good amount of money to help Vision Norfolk’s work in supporting visually-impaired people throughout the county.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Rachael’s run in the Sandringham 5K can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/campaign/Rachael5k.  Rachael and Rob’s places in the run were kindly provided free of charge by the race organisers.