A blind footballer with hopes of competing in the 2020 Paralympic Games has joined other inspirational runners and a host of well-known Manchester faces in a new film ahead of this year's Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run.
Azeem Amir, 19, from Rochdale, was born with no sight in his right eye and slight light perception in his left eye, but has never let this act as a barrier in life, and has taken part in Manchester's most-loved running event for the last three years.
The University of Salford student now features in a film showcasing the words of the inspirational poem, Do Something, written by much-loved Mancunian poet Tony Walsh, aka Longfella.
Created specifically for the Great Manchester Run, the poem embodies the universal feelings of ambition, motivation and celebration experienced by thousands of participants who take on the challenge; and the new film sees Longfella's poignant words being spoken by actors and real runners including Julie Hesmondhalgh, Tony Audenshaw and Ella Chadwick.
A keen sportsman, currently playing in the National Blind Football League for Merseyside Blind FC, Azeem delivers the words that he connects with.
"Do something to get a little fittter…
do something to celebrate your health."
He said: “I love to inspire as many people as possible to get active and give running a go. There's no better way to start than training for the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run and doing it on the day.”
The iconic running event returns on Sunday 19 May, giving thousands of people the chance to experience an event like no other in the heart of the city centre, with 10k and half marathon courses known for their buzzing atmosphere and incredible local support.
He continued: “It's always an amazing event and one of my favourite days of the year.
“Being an athlete, I know the importance of keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run gives people an opportunity to get out and get active. It's a great motivator.”
In October 2017, Azeem was called up to train with the England senior squad and last year became a member of the England Blind Football Team, after making his debut against Japan in Tokyo.
His ambition for 2019 is to train and work hard to help England finish in the top two of the European Championships, later this year, which would see them qualify for the 2020 Paralympic Games.