Blindness is no barrier for Simon Wheatcroft. With technology and willpower as his only guides, Simon achieved the impossible when he learned to run road races and complete ultra-marathons without his sight. He now helps others to overcome adversity—working with companies to improve product accessibility and application, as well as demonstrating the power of determination as a motivational speaker.
What would you do if you lost your sight at the age of 17?
Born with a degenerative eye condition, Simon eventually became blind in his teenager years.
Undeterred, he decided to propose to his girlfriend (now wife) at the top of a mountain in Yosemite National Park.
Unable to complete the climb, he was left with a sense of frustration that, quite literally, powered him through his next sports-related challenge.
Cleverly making use of technology, Simon learned not only to navigate everyday life, but also to run outdoors with only a Smartphone app called Runtracker and his remaining senses as a guide.
Seven months later, he ran his first ever race…a 100-mile one. An incredible feat, Simon motivates his awe-struck audiences by demonstrating the power of determination to overcome struggles and achieve dreams. In 2014, he decided that the 26.2 mile New York City marathon wasn’t enough, so he decided to start in Boston over 250 miles away!
It was the first amazing achievement of many; since then, Simon has competed in ultra-marathons around the UK, and continues to test himself in other parts of the world, including New York and a North African desert!
And if that was not inspiring enough, Simon has taken advantage of his unique skill-base and assisted leading technology companies with their products; by improving accessibility through inclusive user-centric design, Simon is helping others to go further than they ever imagined.
Simon’s keynote titles include, but are not limited to:
- Running the line: understand how technology can be used and adapted to expand the realm of possibility for all and how the obstacles affecting a visually impaired person can be used to create a product to benefit the general public.
- Diversity in technology: understand how developing and adapting technology can break down barriers, increase diversity and create better solutions within a problem solving community.
- Quitting and Failure: learn how to identify the delicate balance between what truly defines quitting vs failure and what can be learnt from adversity and failure and how it can result in a positive conclusion.
- Understanding the end goal: how working backwards allows you assess potential risks and then strip down and simplify life into achievable tasks and ambitions.
- Teamwork, leadership and motivation: how to put together the best team for the job and use your vision to inspire them to achieve things they never thought possible.
- Diversity and technology: understand how embracing, developing and adapting technology can break down barriers, increase diversity and create better solutions.