Gosport teacher completes Isle Of Wight half-marathon virtually blind
A SCHOOL TEACHER endured a gruelling few hours to experience what it is like to live after losing sight.
Peter Hobbins, 45, took part in the Isle Of Wight half-marathon without the use of his glasses in aid of Blind Veterans UK.
Peter, from Gosport, rarely does anything without his spectacles and can only see a few feet without them.
To get a glimpse in the life of what veterans who have lost their vision go through, Mr Hobbins decided he would step into their shoes for a short period of time.
He said: ‘I’m really pleased that I did it and it was definitely worth it.
‘It was really interesting because even right at the start it was blurry but as I went further my vision got worse because of fatigue.
‘I handed my glasses in at the start and then warmed up for an hour. After that, I tried to get a drink of water but couldn’t see where I was going and had to get someone to get it for me.
‘I started to get tired about an hour into the race. At that point, I started to rely on the help of wardens and other people in the race to get around. I would have really struggled otherwise as they kept pointing out and directing me where to go which was invaluable.’
For veterans who do lose their sight, they have to learn to try and become independent again.
The use of other senses becomes critical and that is what it was like for Peter during the run.
He said: ‘I found as I went round, I had to use my other senses much more.
‘When we were running on a country road, I had to use my feet to feel my way around and also had to listen out for cars.
‘I knew my friend was also running the half-marathon. At the start, the way I recognised him was because I could hear his voice – I wouldn’t have known otherwise!
‘I found that my other senses did get better as I became more accustomed during the run.
‘It was an amazing experience and a lot of the time you’re really relying on the instructions of other people. It was a relief to be able to put my glasses on at the end.’
With the Paralympics now on the horizon, Peter says he’ll be able to watch on appreciating what the athletes go through.
He added: ‘I’m really excited for them and I’ve downloaded an app on my phone to watch it wherever I go.
‘The athletes are an inspiration performing at the top level using their other senses.
‘The full marathon on the Isle Of Wight is my next target for Blind Veterans UK as I want to keep raising awareness.’
To donate to Peter’s cause, visit justgiving.com/Peter-Hobbins3