A WOMAN who is slowly losing her vision due to a rare eye condition is determined to complete the Great South Run despite the challenge facing her.
Leanne Finden, from Aldershot, Hampshire, was diagnosed with auto-recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa when she was just 27-years-old.
The incurable condition means that her sight is deteriorating and she has no peripheral, night or colour vision.
Despite accepting she will eventually become blind, Leanne, now 30, wants to stay as positive and independent as possible.
She is hoping to cross the finish line at the Great South Run on October 23 as part of her goal to increase her fitness and to raise funds to find a cure for the condition.
Leanne said: “My condition affects me in every way of life from walking, reading, working and socialising to my emotional and psychological wellbeing.
“It makes me feel sad sometimes that I can’t experience things that others do but I am still lucky that I have some of my sight left.
“I won’t be looking at the impressive sights that make up the Great South Run course like other people, I will have to concentrate on the path ahead straight in front of me as if I look at something while running I will fall flat on my face.
“I will only be able to see the finish once I am close to it but if I can get to it without any accidents within the time I have set it will be an amazing feeling to cross the finish line.”
As Leanne’s condition is deteriorating by the day, she is limited in her training for the event as she can only run in daylight and in good weather conditions but remains confident that she will be ready for her biggest challenge to date.
She added: “I am not a confident runner but I was in the past so I know that I am capable of running the Great South Run.
“I try not to think about the fact I may lose my sight as it makes me feel sad and frustrated a lot of the time.
“When I do think about it I think of the things I may not be able to see like my baby taking their first steps or travelling to see some of the sights of the world.
“But my family have been very supportive since I signed up and have been helping and pushing me with my training.
“Two of my friends are also taking part and are helping with my sponsorship for the charity.”
Leanne is supporting RP Fighting Blindness during her challenge, a nationwide organisation that was set up to provide support and information to sufferers.
To support Leanne, visit Justgiving.com/Leanne-Finden1
The weekend also includes the Great South Run 5k and the Junior and Mini Great South Run, which are staged the day before the 10 mile event.