A GALLOWAY man will take on the challenge of a lifetime when he attempts his first marathon in somewhat bizarre circumstances.
Andrew Gibson, 27, has signed up to run the scenic but gruelling Loch Ness Marathon on September 30 without using his senses of sight and hearing.
The Elrig runner will not be able to take in an inch of the jaw-dropping scenery as he will run the full distance while blindfolded with ear defenders.
Running to raise funds for Deafblind Scotland, Andrew hopes he will be able to provide awareness of one of the most isolating conditions.
The former Port William footballer took up a job as the charity’s information officer in June and has been inspired by the courage and spirit of the members who live with dual sensory impairment.
Andrew said: “It’s a bit of a crazy idea but it’s pointless if I don’t do the full distance in conditions that a deafblind person would have to endure.
“My mates Don O’Brien and Jamie Lapworth will take turns at guiding me, which will be tough for them because, as well as having to deal with running a marathon, they’ll have to make sure I don’t run into the loch.”
The three friends have been training for three weeks and will only have a total of six weeks training before the marathon comes round. Andrew added: “We’ve maybe left it a little late when it comes to preparation, but we all decided we wanted to do a marathon this year before we changed our minds. Loch Ness was the last chance.”
Andrew will hold the arm of whoever is guiding him while running. Taps on his shoulders and back will tell him how far they have run and if there are any obstacles in the near distance.
Getting used to running deafblind was not an easy task.
Andrew said: “We hadn’t a clue how we were going to do it at first and it was a bit awkward holding on to one of the guys’ arms so we tried it with just taps on my shoulder to go left or right. Within ten seconds, I was off the path and stumbling about in a bush. The distance is going to be brutal enough as the furthest I have run before this was the length of the Maxwell Park pitch when I played for Port William on Sunday mornings. At least for this I won’t be hungover, though!”
To support Andrew, Jamie and Don you can donate very easily at www.justgiving.com/thedeafblindmarathon.