A TEAM of runners are taking on the Oxford Half Marathon inspired by the work of a vital Oxford charity.
The Oxfordshire Association for the Blind’s (OAB) team of runners each have a personal reason to support the charity.
Sean Rainey, 39, joined the board of trustees at OAB after his daughter Klara was diagnosed as visually impaired when she was six months old.
He said: “It is one of those things, you haven’t got a clue what goes on at these charities until you need them.
“I feel very proud to be associated with them.
“I am not hugely wealthy so I am also looking for ways to get involved.”
OAB provide services and a meeting place for people who are visually impaired.
As Klara grows up, her eyesight is expected to worsen, and OAB will be able to help her adapt to this change.
Mr Rainey added: “It is reassuring to know they will be there.”
The Oxford Half Marathon, supported by the Oxford Mail, is now in its second year.
All the money raised from entry fees is donated to Helen & Douglas House children’s hospice, although many runners are raising additional money through sponsorship for a personal cause.
Last year Ben Allcock ran nine marathons in as many days to raise £5,000 for OAB. But he fell £100 short of his target so he is returning this year to make up the difference.
Mr Allcock, 38, a charity fundraiser, began working for OAB after he was moved by a volunteering experience as a student.
Mr Allcock said: “I escorted a couple of visually impaired elderly ladies to the theatre one night, and as the lights were going down one of them was telling me a story.
“Her friend had to tell her the play was starting, and she said ‘I will finish telling this nice young man my story later’.
“I had such a great time. These are wonderful people.”
The association traces its origins in Oxford back to 1877.
In February it moved into a new, £600,000 purpose-built home in Abingdon Road.
Fundraiser Rebecca Benney said: “We had a team last year and so it is something we want to build on.”
lRegistration is still open and costs £33 for non UKA affiliated runner and £31 for affiliated runners. Entry closes on Friday. Sign up at oxfordmail.co.uk/news/oxford _half_marathon