Nathan takes half marathon in his stride

Blind runner Nathan Edge, with his guide runner Pete, after the Robin Hood half marathon
Blind runner Nathan Edge, with his guide runner Pete, after the Robin Hood half marathon

Mansfield man Nathan Edge has faced many new obstacles since losing his sight last year.

But he has not let it stop him taking on new challenges in order to support a good cause, and he has signed up to run next year’s London Marathon for the Guide Dogs charity.

In preparation for this test, he completed the Robin Hood half marathon on Sunday - his first ever half marathon - in a good time of two hours and thirteen minutes.

Nathan, 21, said: “Running conditions were perfect and I loved every minute of it.

“It was tough but it was a new experience.

“As we expected, running in a crowd was challenging but not at any point did I feel unsafe. I was quite happy with it.”

Nathan ran the Nottingham race with the assistance of guide Pete Jones-Hall, who is also blind in one eye.

The two are attached by a small rope that they both hold on to, with Pete giving Nathan verbal commands and warnings as necessary.

“I needed to get used to the crowds more than the distance and running with a lot of people,” said Nathan.

“I have 110 per cent trust in Pete.

“It’s good going into a race not having any worries about the sight issue but worrying about what the other runners are worrying about - and that’s completing the distance.”

Nathan, of Claymoor Close, Mansfield, was visually impaired from the age of six.

He was diagnosed with an eye disease called uveitis which incredibly developed through having severe juvenile chronic arthritis, but he led a normal life, without needing a cane or a dog.

However as he turned 18, Nathan had a bleed at the back of his right eye which caused his sight to severely deteriorate.

He was treated at the world-renowned Moorfield Eye Hospital in London, but despite doctors’ efforts, he lost the sight during an operation.

He suffered a further blow when he had a bleed in the other eye, but this time decided to leave it to deteriorate by itself.

Unfortunately Nathan’s sight went completely overnight in February 2014 when he was just 19-years-old.

“It destroyed me to be honest,” said Nathan.

“I tried to prepare for it but you can’t prepare for it until it happens.

“It devastated me and my family.”

Nathan already had his Guide Dog Hudson when he lost his sight and says he does not know where he would be without him.

Such has been the support he has received from Guide Dogs that Nathan wanted to give something back to the charity and help others in similar positions.

He volunteers for the organisation and is raising money for it through his running.

“I want people to have the same support that I was lucky enough to get,” he added.

Nathan is aiming to raise a whopping £7,000 for the Guide Dogs charity, which has its headquarters for the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire region at Annesley’s Sherwood Business Park.

He has set up a fundraising website which also lists all of the races and events he is taking part in ahead of his main goal, completing the London Marathon.

Anyone wanting to donate should visit www.justgiving.com/nathan-and-pete.