Lockdown life spurred visually Impaired man to complete virtual marathon
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A visually impaired man from Bury St Edmunds completed the virtual Edinburgh marathon last week with a bid to set a new personal best.
Billy Cornish, who was born visually impaired lives with tunnel vision also lives with bipolar and usually runs with a guide, but completed his run in 3.33.27 on his own as he ran 105 and a half laps of the Bury St Edmunds leisure centre running track, on Sunday, May 30.
Mr Cornish was just short of his personal best, which he achieved last year and is 3.30.45, and said he had a very hard last 10K in the virtual marathon.
"I was supposed to be doing the marathon in person but because of Covid it is now virtual," Mr Cornish said.
Mr Cornish, is part of Red Lodge running club, but started running more during the lockdown to keep on top of his mental health.
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He said: "I have always done bits of running but never really done it properly, but with the lockdown and my bipolar I did know that if I did not do something I was going to be in a bit of a struggle with my mental health.
"Fortunately I am friends with my guide Barry Bottwright, who is already a decent runner, and he told me he would come out with me more to help me get out, We buddied up and joined each other's support bubbles and the running just went from there."
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Mr Cornish, who occasionally uses a guide dog, explained that he struggled to run during the first lockdown because of the amount of people that were also out exercising.
"It is people and dogwalkers, without a guide it is just not safe," said Mr Cornish.
"Because of lockdown everyone started going out and doing more exercise which became more challenging for me.
"I cope quite well in familiar places but it is when you take me out of the village and elsewhere.
"I do have the use of the dog but that is only really for when I go out to unfamiliar places, I wouldn't necessarily take him to the village pub
"The biggest thing for me is probably light, if it is a sunny hazy day I do struggle. I have no side vision which is also known as tunnel vision.
"Although it is hard you get by and you learn to take less risks like when you cross the road but with the peripheral vision you have to have so much more awareness without actually seeing.
"Being out and about is hard because you have to have a lot more head movement to see things even if they are a blur, but on the track you can lock into the white lines and once you are in the lines you know where you are."
Mr Cornish, will be completing both the London and Brighton marathon later this year with his guide Mr Bottwright.