Losing his sight hasn’t stopped Mark Rogerson signing up for the London Marathon three years in a row.
Mark, 33, lost his sight suddenly in 2013 after an ophthalmologist found he had detached retinas in both eyes. Despite this, he is set to tackle his third London Marathon in a row in 2018 to raise money for the Royal National Institute Of Blind People (RNIB).
Given this admirable commitment you might assume that he was a keen runner already. Not so.
“It was only after I lost my sight that I started running,” says Rogerson.
“I was inspired by my sister and my mum. After I lost my sight they did a half marathon to raise money for the charity that looked after me. I decided it maybe should be me who did the running, so I did a 10K and that’s how I got into it.”
Although he initially signed up just to raise money for charity, Rogerson quickly found that running provided other benefits.
“Once I got into it I found it was a good escape,” says Rogerson. “It was hard dealing with the sight loss and running gave me something else to focus on. When you’re out running you can clear your mind and think about what you’re doing, rather than thinking about your problems.
“Running gives you that feelgood factor – after I finish I feel better about what I’ve done and better about myself.”
Although Rogerson still has some sight in his left eye, his vision is not good enough to run without a guide, who ensures he has a clear and safe path to run along.
“I’ve got no vision in my right eye and no peripheral vision in the left,” says Rogerson.
“I have some central vision in my left eye. What I can see is pretty clear, but it’s just a narrow tunnel. Also I have light sensitivity, which means I have to run in dark glasses. I prefer it not too bright or dark – perfect conditions for me is a grey sky, which is probably just as well living in England!”
Mark ran his first London Marathon in 2016 with his sister Sarah as his guide runner and then ran with a friend, Mark Murray, in 2017.
“The people of London are amazing” says Murray. “You watch it on TV and it’s just not the same. Every person you go past, they’re shouting your name, they tell you to keep going when you’re struggling.”
“It’s just the whole atmosphere of the race,” says Rogerson. “I just love it, and I like having that goal, because I need something to focus on.”
Mark is holding a charity night on 17th November and they are looking for raffle prizes if any one is in the position to donate anything. Also, if any Companies would like to sponsor him, he will wear a logo in exchange for a small donations.
Mark can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
His JustGiving page