Meet the iSightCornwall Marathon Runner 2022

July 29, 2022 1:02 pm

iSightCornwall London Marathon Runner 2022: Hoby Allen

Here at iSightCornwall, we are always grateful to those who decide to run the TCS London Marathon in aid of our causes. As one of Cornwall’s oldest charities, iSightCornwall helps people with sight loss across the county with a wide range of challenges from financial advice to low vision aids.

But this year we were particularly delighted when Hoby Allen put his name forward to run as he has been a client of ours for many years. Hoby has retinal dystrophy, which causes severe sight loss and so has had a relationship with iSightCornwall since he was in Primary School.

Hoby runs on a treadmill in his home as part of his marathon preparations

Hoby

Hoby said: “Retinal dystrophy causes bad vision, night blindness and low depth perception. It’s gotten worse slowly and now I’m blind. iSightCornwall have been there since before I can even remember, they helped me in Primary School and have always been involved with any problem I faced and offered me seamless help all the way through my life.”

iSightCornwall helped secure a computer for Hoby as well as accessible software which helped Hoby study and follow his aspirations in entering the music industry; he now runs his own business with a studio called Cabin Fever Audio.

Previous experience

Hoby has previously taken on the London Marathon but found his journey to the race filled with difficulties. He had not done much running before and after his first guide runner could no longer help; he stopped his training regime.

He explained: “I signed up on a whim last time and after I got to running 5k at a time, my friend dropped out and I took that as an excuse to stay at that level rather than improve. Eventually, I looked on social media for a new guide runner and found Amanda who has done several marathons and she took me from 5k to 26 miles in about 8 weeks.

“I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon again because last time it was more like surviving, this time I want to do it under five hours. Running near people during the event was a big shock to me, there were so many people there it was a fantastic moral boost but as a blind runner it introduces new challenges.”

Guide Runner

Hoby will be running this year’s event with a new Guide Runner, Kevin who he has been training with over the past few months. To be a cohesive team the blind runner needs to have complete trust in his guide whilst his guide needs to effectively communicate dangers such as overhead branches, slopes or rubbish on the floor – all whilst running.
Hoby said: “Your guide runner is literally your eyes and you have to work with them to find what works for you. We actually don’t use a traditional lead which connects at the waist but instead I found a figure of 8 that we both hold works best for us; although this has meant we’ve used some interesting connections including a dog toy! We got some odd looks for that one and we had to get my Guide Dog her own so she didn’t get jealous and try to take ours.”

Target

Hoby is looking forward to running in aid of iSightCornwall and has set his target at £2,000 with fundraising concerts and events already planned.

He said: “I couldn’t have asked more from iSightCornwall, they’ve been there every step of the way and whatever was happening in my life, I knew they would be willing and able to help. This is just my way of giving back so they can continue to help people like me for a long time to come.”

A spokesperson from iSightCornwall said: “We were delighted to hear that Hoby wanted to run the TCS London Marathon in aid of us. Hoby is a long-time client and a well-known face in our Sight Centre and at events. We wish him the best of luck with his training and look forward to supporting him on the big day.

“The money he raises will be used to help run our vital services such as low vision clinics, assistant technology sessions and social clubs across Cornwall.”

To donate to Hoby’s fundraiser, click here: visit Hoby’s fundraising page (will open in a new tab)

A donation, however small, can change someone's life. Thank you for your support.

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