Blind runner and jogging cabbie in 24-hour Hornchurch race

18:04 10 June 2014




A blind runner and a jogging cabbie who uses his knowledge to give athletic tours of the capital will be among those taking part in a 24-hour race.

Peter KellyPeter Kelly

Simon Wheatcroft, 32, lost his sight when he was 17 but was able to carry on running using a smartphone and the feel of the ground underneath as navigation.

He will take part in the Spitfire Scramble mega-marathon in Hornchurch Country Park.

The August event, which is the first of its kind to take place in London, will see solo runners and teams of up to eight complete as many laps of the 5.8mile course.

Competitors are free to rest at the on-site camping facilities but the race is on to clock up as many laps as possible.

Simon, from Doncaster, will compete with the Guiderunning.UK team that will comprise of four blind and visually impaired runners and their guides.

Simon said: “Running is important to me. I love to train, I love to compete. But if I wish to do this outside of a controlled or familiar environment I need a guide.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to formalise a growing movement and offer insight to other experienced or aspiring runners.”

Another keen runner taking part is a cabbie who began using his knowledge to navigate the streets of London on four wheels but added another string to his bow by becoming a running tour guide.

Peter Kelly, 42, of Hunter Drive, Hornchurch, uses his map-like knowledge to offer visitors the chance to combine sightseeing and exercise but he will take on a new challenge with his team at the event that begins at noon on August 30.

He said: “The event will showcase on of London’s real gems in terms of green spaces, and it means I’ll be only too happy to guide a few tourists around town this summer to make sure I’m in shape come race weekend.”

To get involved in the race contact organiser Danny Coyle on 07872 177 603 or email

Read more:

Cabbie breaking ‘fried breakfast’ stereotype in painstaking race training

Hornchurch cyclist reunited with first aiders after race crash

Gallows Corner Tesco goes pink for Race For Life

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