BUPA London 10,000
BUPA LONDON 10,000 - 27.05.13
Project 26.2 runner Aaron Paterson’s marathon was a triumph, but he had another challenge following the race, to guide his girlfriend, blindfolded, around her first ever 10k.
Why did Angela decide to run blindfold?
Her cousin Paul has been diagnosed with Choroideremia, a rare inherited eye disorder that causes progressive sight loss. So she wanted to raise money that would go direct to a clinical trial aimed at finding a way to halt the loss of his vision. He has already had to give up his driving licence, which, with two kids, is a major disadvantage.
How did training go?
It was interesting! We did three runs a week, two normal and one blindfolded.
We had a strap that joined us at the wrist – it was like having her on a leash! We’d be jogging along and if she started drifting away I’d give her a little tug. It required so much communication. On one of the first runs we did she turned her ankle on a lip in the pavement because I just didn’t think to say anything about it. You see it and think, ‘I’ll dodge that’, but she obviously didn’t know anything about it.
Another time, we were going for a run on the seafront and had to walk down a couple of steps to the path. I didn’t even tell her about the steps and just carried on walking! Literally, as soon as that blindfold goes on, you’ve got to switch on. It was quote tiring as the guide runner, having to watch out for things all the time. We only did up to four miles in training with the blindfold.
What was the start like?
It was Angela’s first race – she’s not really a runner, so it was a new thing for her. There was no separate start, we were in there with everyone else like sardines. We had been quite confident and we walked down to our pen without the blindfold so she could see the environment she’d be in, but once we were in the pen she put on blindfold on and it was quite daunting!
How did the race go?
It was like a game of humans Tetris. I was just placing her in the gaps as we went along. We were quite near the back but there were a lot of people walk-jogging, so quote often people would jog then stop ahead of us and I’d have to move Angela quickly, shouting, ‘Shuffle left, left, left! Right! Right! Right!’
It was like that all the way through. We were only averaging 13 min miles, so we weren’t quick, but mentally it was hard because I had to concentrate so much. Angela’s mum and brother came to watch, and I was so focused on road in front of her and the runners around her, I hadn’t noticed them cheering us on but she heard them and told me where they were! When you’re so focused, you can’t see anything around you.
What was the experience of training together like?
At first it was horrible because, basically you end up having a row. I had learned so much from the project about training and nutrition and I tried to pass it on but she wouldn’t listen, but the fitter she got, the easier it was and the less frustrated she was. We’ll do something together in future, she enjoyed it in the end!
Winner – Mo Farah, 29:13
53% MEN, 47% WOMEN
Angela’s time: 1:23:59 (10,253rd overall)
You can read Angela's blog
on our sister site Women's Running.