Visually impaired man from Banbury gets ready to take on London Landmarks run with guide runner

Andy Smith, MyVision Oxfordshire’s Service Delivery Manager, has had Congenital Nystagmus and Astigmatism since birth. He is also an avid runner; he has previously done the Manchester Marathon, the Oxford Half, and countless other runs. Now he’s getting ready to take on the London Landmarks Half Marathon with his guide runner, Sharon, while fundraising for MyVision Oxfordshire.
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This is the 3rd running event for Andy with a guide runner and the 1st with Sharon, who he has been running with for about a year.

The London Landmarks will be an entirely new challenge for the pair. Andy said, “I’ve done two 10k events with a guide runner but the longer events like this one are more challenging for both of us. In the 10k you don’t have the mental fatigue. Sharon needs more mental stamina as well. Even when she gets tired, she still has to keep looking for the hazards and be aware of the route.”

Sharon has previously done the event on her own, but this will be her first time as a guide runner. She said: “It feels like a big responsibility. For the first few runs we did I was so worried Andy would fall, but we have got used to each other now and I feel quite confident. It feels good to enable Andy to be able to get out and run again with confidence while I get the chance to have some company and enjoy running with a friend.”

Andy and his guide runner Sharon standing in a field in their running vestsAndy and his guide runner Sharon standing in a field in their running vests
Andy and his guide runner Sharon standing in a field in their running vests

Andy then said, “One of the things that changed for me after I started running with a guide is that I take running as an enjoyment thing more now. We really enjoy running and it’s a social thing with my guide runner.”

More than 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss and around 24,000 people in Oxfordshire are part of that statistic. The funds raised through this event will be vital in helping people with sight loss across Oxfordshire to have independent and active lives.

Andy shared: “I’d love for people to donate to show that being visually impaired doesn’t hold you back. With the right support you can do what you want; if you’re visually impaired and would like to get into running or any other hobby, don’t let your eyesight hold you back.”

If you would like to support Andy and Sharon’s London Landmarks Challenge as well as follow their training journey, click the link: Andrew Smith is fundraising for MyVision Oxfordshire (