Braille messages will encourage visually impaired and blind runners to take part in Sunday’s London Marathon.
Threety-five runners will be accompanied by guides. Hundreds of others will raise money for charities that support the blind and vision impaired.
Miles 20 and 23 will be lined with banners that feature Braille messages of encouragement. These are points where many participants need an extra boost.These banners were created in collaboration between Wiggle and New Balance, as well as the Royal Society for Blind Children (PA).
Guides can encourage runners to run on the left side of their course, so that they feel the Braille banner when they reach the barriers.
Braille allows blind people to read and write.
Louis Braille, a student at Paris’ Royal Institute for Blind Youth, developed the tactile code in 1820s.
Sam Fox, 52, a Benfleet resident, was blinded eight years ago. He is now running the TCS London Marathon for Guide Dogs.Blind runner Sam Fox (52), from Benfleet in Essex with her guide dog Winston.
She said, “I cannot stress enough how grateful we are that our community was thought of at an occasion on the scale London Marathon.”
“When I heard of the Braille banners, it brought tears to mine eyes.
These banners have set a gold standard and should be followed by more people and businesses. It can make a big difference for blind people, but it is rare to see.
“I was totally blind when I was eight years old and my freedom was given to me by Winston, my guide dog. However, blind and vision-impaired persons aren’t always thought of. Guide dog owners often are denied access to certain places, for example.
“I cannot express my gratitude enough and can’t wait to feel them all on the big day.”
These banners were created in collaboration between Wiggle and New Balance, as well as the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).
Mile 20, located at Poplar High Street is often the place where runners need to push themselves beyond their longest running runs.
Mile 23, Lower Thames Street is where RSBC launched its Life Without Limits Centre in January to assist blind and partially sighted children as well as their families with confidence, resilience, and skills to face any challenges.
Shalni Sood is director of philanthropy for RSBC. She said, “It’s great that we see a more inclusive approach – the banners a great example.
“We encourage other organisations within the sport industry to support vision-impaired athletes.” We expect to see more of this in the future.
Wiggle has donated a year’s worth of support to the RSBC. This will enable two families to receive emotional and practical assistance.
Huw Crwys Williams, chief executive of Wiggle, said that the Braille banners would “create a special moment” for those who are vision impaired and will help them take on this incredible challenge.
Samantha Matthews, New Balance’s senior marketing manager UK & Ireland, stated that everyone should feel included at race day. That’s why TCS London Marathon is proud to support visually impaired runners by providing motivation and support for the most difficult miles.
It was designed to assist visually impaired persons to touch the letters, numbers, and punctuation.