Blind Athlete Takes on Incredible Challenge to Run Seven Back-to-Back Marathons in One Week
LOS ANGELES, CA – On Tuesday, April 8, Pasadena will become the third stop on an incredible journey for Dave Heeley, a blind athlete from England, who is taking on the ultimate mental and physical challenge — to run seven marathons, in seven days, on seven continents. Braille Institute of America is proud to be the sponsor of the North American leg of Dave Heeley’s amazing journey. Hundreds of supporters, including staff, students and volunteers from Braille Institute’s Southern California regional centers, along with members of local running clubs, university cross country teams, other blind athletes and public supporters, will join Dave at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Tuesday, April 8, to extend the hand of support and international cooperation as he runs 26.2 miles around the Rose Bowl. Some will run along with him, others will walk and many will cheer their support from the sidelines, but all will be united in the common goal of raising awareness about the capabilities blind and visually impaired people. A press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m., and the race will begin at 11 a.m.
This extraordinary feat has only been accomplished by two internationally renowned adventurers — both of whom are supporting Dave in his attempt to become the first blind man on earth to run the 7/7/7 endurance marathon challenge. This grueling test of strength and determination began on Sunday, April 6, in Antarctica, as Dave completed the first leg of his more than 183-mile marathon. Each day, he will run 26.2 miles, crossing pain barriers and time zones, while battling jet lag and extreme exhaustion, to make it to the final finish line at the Flora London Marathon in England, on Sunday, April 13.
Dave Heeley’s ambition to become the first blind man in the world to complete this unique marathon sprang from his life-changing experience with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the United Kingdom, which is sponsoring the international race. After receiving orientation and mobility training, the center paired him with his first guide dog, and the freedom and independence it provided him changed his life. Now a guide dog owner for more than 10 years, Dave relishes the opportunity to raise money for the charity that helped him break down the barriers to independence in his own life. And he hopes to inspire other blind people to tackle the day-to-day challenges that face them with a renewed sense of optimism.
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“Every five seconds someone in the world loses their sight, and in many countries there are few, if any, services to help them,” said Dave. “Having dealt with the shock of losing my sight, I know how difficult it can be. I was fortunate enough to have had my life transformed by the Guide Dogs organization. Now I’m determined to raise awareness of visual impairment in an effort to improve services for blind and visually impaired people around the world.” If you would like additional information on Dave Heeley or the Los Angeles leg of the Seven Marathons Event, please contact Courtney Goines, media relations manager, at 323-663-1111, Ext. 3176.
Braille Institute is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate blindness and severe sight loss as a barrier to a fulfilling life. Through educational training, programs and services, Braille Institute helps tens of thousands of people each year regain and maintain their independence. Thanks to generous donations, Braille Institute services are available free of charge. More information can be found at http://www.brailleinstitute.org.