Blind runner inspired to race by running group
24 June 2011
A blind woman who has received support and encouragement from her local Run England running group will take part in this year’s Wirral Race for Life on Sunday 10 July, along with her faithful guide dog.
Dorothy Murphy, accompanied by five-year-old Westley, will run the 5km course in Birkenhead Park in memory of her father-in-law, who died from cancer.
Mother-of-one Dorothy, from Woodchurch, Wirral, was just 14 when she was diagnosed blind. Her sight deteriorated over the years and affected her confidence.
The 34-year-old was inspired to take up running by Laura Stewart, from Bromborough, Wirral, who became a national inspiration for overweight people when she shed eight stone and is also taking part in this year's Race for Life and is a member of the Wirral Running Group.
Inspired by Laura, Dorothy got in touch with Group Leader Fiona Hanik, who organises Wirral Running Groups, and she arranged for Dorothy to attend one of the quieter sessions to see if the Run England Group could meet her needs.
This was a new experience for both the Group Leaders and Dorothy. On her first session in November, she attended with her son, Michael, and Westley – her guide. She was welcomed by the running group with open arms and, when her son moved up to a faster-paced group, the increased independence allowed Dorothy to run further and further as she became more and more familiar with the route.
Dorothy said: “Because I'm blind I was always afraid of running. But when I read Laura's story in the Globe (local newspaper), I thought ‘I could do that’. Doing something like Race for Life has given me a goal to aim for.”
More recently, Dorothy has begun running on her own, without her guide dog, using Group Leaders as her support, which shows just how far Dorothy has come over the last seven months.
So far Dorothy has raised £241 and thanks to Run England hopes to run the full 5k route on 10 July.
Wirral Run England has various sessions in Birkenhead, West Kirby, Bebington and Spital. Sessions cater for all abilities from non-runners to a handful of runners who have entered the Liverpool Marathon this October.