The true legacy of the 2012 Paralympics has been widely debated. One of the main hopes was that it would inspire a generation of people to get involved in sport, whatever their circumstance.

Although the debate continues, one thing for sure is that the Paralympics certainly inspired me! When I was approached by one of our service managers asking if I could be a guide runner/buddy for a partially sighted person, Dan, I said yes.

One of Dan’s goals for this year was to train and run the Kew half marathon in September, by no means an easy challenge!

We started our training together in April and in our first few runs encountered the variety of the British weather reminding us both of the tough training months that lay ahead! After adjusting to running together with our different paces (Dan is super fast!), this Sunday saw us finally ready to tackle the big day itself.

Thankfully the weather was on our side, with a crisp but sunny morning.  The first few miles out of Kew Gardens were packed with runners which (thankfully!) slowed us down! We then headed out along the river, which was the trickiest part of the course for Dan with the uneven ground and darkness from the trees. We faced this challenge together, head on with confidence and determination.

Homebound back into Richmond, Dan picked up pace, spurred on by the encouraging cheers and words from spectators and fellow runners, to cross over the finish line in a very respectable time of 2hrs 7 mins!  Almost one foot after walking over the finish Dan asked me when our next race was as he had enjoyed it!

As we were waiting in line to get Dan’s race chip removed a runner approached us, gave Dan a hug and said she had been following us for the last couple of miles, and he had kept her going, and that he was fantastic and an inspiration!  He was certainly an inspiration to me and perhaps he could be to you too.

If you’d like to take part in a running challenge please email [email protected] or check out our other events.

Lindsey Simmonds, project manager.