North East Sensory Services

31 July 2018

Blind north-east man set to run half marathon

A north-east running enthusiast, who is registered blind, is preparing to run his eighth half marathon to raise money for blind and deaf people. 

Neil Skene, fundraising co-ordinator for North East Sensory Services (NESS), will take part in the Great Aberdeen Run half marathon alongside guide runner Alan Coull on 26 August 2018.  Neil said: “This is one of my favourite events as you get to run on the streets of Aberdeen with thousands of other runners; the atmosphere is electric, keeping you motivated to finish the race in good time.

Neil continues: “Without the support of our guide runners, we would not be able to take part.  We rely heavily on them to verbally and physically communicate with us, indicating twists and turns in the road, as well as letting us know if there are people or obstacles ahead. 

“We really appreciate their commitment to support us, they don’t just run with us on the day of the event they give up dedicated time for months in advance to help us prepare. 

“My training schedule includes regular runs incorporating shorter distances, helping me to increase my speed.  I take part in local Parkruns which are organised weekly by volunteers, suitable for all standards of runners and free to attend.  For longer distances I train in my local village Inverurie and its surrounding country areas.  I will occasionally run on the treadmill but only if I have to as I much prefer human company!”  

Graham Findlay, chief executive officer for NESS said: “Neil has participated in numerous races, including half marathon and marathons.  His efforts are incredible and an inspiration for anyone considering getting off the couch, dusting off the trainers and donning the running attire for a day of sporting fun. 

Graham continues: “We are delighted to be part of the Great Aberdeen Run, where all ages and abilities can participate and fundraise for local charities.   We are encouraging others to get involved in the event by joining the NESS team and help raise money for the charity, which supports more than 6,000 blind and deaf people in the north-east.

“We have a limited amount of free charity places available and participants will receive a NESS T-shirt, a pre-run workshop on nutritional advice for running provided by Aurora Natural Wellness, goodies from Alba Sports Nutrition and a recovery smoothie; and if that doesn’t attract you, we can offer you a well-earned post-run massage from Helping Hand Therapy.”

Also participating in the NESS team is Kerry Robbins, whose son is deaf and receives support from the Young People’s Sensory Service (YPSS) programme at NESS, which works with children and young people.   Kerry, will compete in her first 10k to help raise vital funds for the charity, as a thank you for the support the family has received.   YPSS provides a vital service for young people aged from 0-18 with a visual or hearing impairment, encouraging children to learn new life skills, make friends and have fun.