Dave Heeley plans seven continents in seven days marathon

28 March 2008

Dave Heeley, who refers to himself as Blind Dave, hopes to raise over money for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Heeley, who will be guided on the 295.09km run by sighted companion Malcolm Carr, said he was inspired by polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes , who completed the gruelling challenge in 2003.

Heeley, a father of three from West Bromwich, will begin the challenge on the Falkland Islands, on April 6.

He will then complete a 26.2-mile (42.16km) race in Santiago, Los Angeles, Sydney, Dubai and Tunisia before completing the London Marathon on April 13.

Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe said: "I hope thousands of people will be inspired by Dave's amazing ambition. It is amazing to see that sight loss does not prevent enjoyment and achievement in long-distance running."

Heeley, who has been visually impaired since birth, was a keen runner as a child but had to give up the sport when he was 16 as his sight deteriorated.

He was registered as blind in 1986 and has been supplied with three guide dogs by the charity.

"Guide dogs have given me enough confidence to allow me to do this challenge," he said. "Guide dogs have given me back my life.

"I would like to raise one million (pounds), but hopefully this will leave Guide Dogs with a legacy that continues to rise for years and years.

"If with the assistance of a guide dog people can walk out of their front door every step will be worth it."

Heeley said that after he completes the physical and logistical challenge he is going to "sleep for a week".

He said he has more fundraising schemes up his sleeve, but "next time I hear Ranulph Fiennes on the radio, I will turn it off".

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