Local man, Dan Wren, and his guide runner, Lindsey Simmonds, are taking on the London Marathon on 24 April for the first time, and fundraising for United Response, a charity which supports people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health needs.

Dan, 39, from Hampton Wick and Lindsey, 42, from Surbiton, have been running together for two years.

Dan is blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other. He was introduced to Lindsey by a support worker at United Response, where Lindsey works as a project manager and Dan is involved in a social enterprise.

At the time, Lindsey was in search of a new challenge and felt inspired by guide runners she saw at the 2012 Paralympics.

She said:

“I’d been running by myself for years and was starting to get bored of it. Dan is fun and good company. Running together makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

“Being a guide-runner makes you take in more of your surroundings. In other races, I’ve often missed what’s actually going on around me. My first ever marathon was in Paris, which I thought would be amazing but all I can remember seeing was the Eiffel Tower! This time, I’ll have to be much more aware.”

Dan and Lindsey run side-by-side, joined by a rope, which can be challenging when there are a lot of people around. They have to ensure they are keeping pace with each other throughout the run.

Lindsey and Dan running the Richmond Half-Marathon together

It will be Lindsey’s fourth marathon and, as an experienced runner, she is setting the training schedule and making sure that they both stick to it.

“I’ve never had a companion while running a marathon before, so this will be a nice change. I think it will be better having someone to run with – we can keep each other going!” said Lindsey.

Dan has always enjoyed running and takes part in his local park run, but he enjoys it even more now that he runs with Lindsey and has grown in confidence over the past two years.

He was keen to sign up for his first marathon this year and persuaded Lindsey to join him.

Dan said:

“I was inspired by other runners to go for the marathon and it seemed like the next step after so many years of running. The training has been mighty good so far. There have been a few challenges - running in darkness can be difficult and uneven pavements. But we’re getting there. We’re working on a slower, even pace. That’s what I’ll be concentrating on during the marathon.”

Lindsey has been helping Dan with his pace and they recently completed the Hampton Court Half-Marathon together.

Dan, who has a learning disability, participates in one of United Response’s social enterprise projects, Garden Gnomes; an award-winning project, based in South West London, which supports people with disabilities to do horticulture work within their communities.

Lindsey and Dan showing their support for United Response

To help Dan and Lindsey reach their fundraising target, please visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/lindseysimmonds

To find out more about the event, or to join our cheer station on the day, you can contact Sarah from United Response’s fundraising team on 0208 879 4987.


Donate to Lindsey's fundraising page