Hi I am Shaun, I am 44 and live in a new town on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. I wanted to share with you my story and what motivates me.
I wanted to raise money for VICTA as I am severely visually impaired myself. I have grown up with this and truly understand the benefits this charity offer to visually impaired children and the support they offer for their families.
I was about seven when they first discovered I had a sight problem, I kept having accidents in school and walking into objects that were not in my central vision. After lots of blood tests, lumber punctures and a very painful bone marrow test (which still haunts me to this day) it was discovered I have a rare condition called ‘Gyrate atrophy of the choroid and retina’. I have two brothers who don’t have the condition, which made it hard to grasp when first diagnosed.
I am glad my parents kept me in a mainstream school, from an early age I was determined not to let my lack of sight hold me back. Growing up, I had a passion for computers which I can thank my Aunt for, this passion stayed with me. It was just unfortunate the schools didn’t see a job in computers suited for me when making my choices for subjects in high school and I was advised to take other subjects; craft and design technical drawing of all subjects. Leaving school having passed all my o grades I took, but not a clue in what I wanted to do.
I some how ended up working in a kitchen, and became a chef, for a while I did enjoy what I was doing but still had the desire to work in IT, so many years later I decided to go back to night school and study computing. It took me 5 ½ years of night school, day release, and still working full time but I graduated in 2005 with a BSc (with distinction): Networking and Computer Support.
The evolution of technology and my sheer determination has played a huge part in me getting where I am today, I currently work as a Cloud Solutions Engineer for Dell.
I have always been into fitness and keeping healthy, but it was only when I turned 40 I set myself a goal to complete a marathon. Over the years I have completed eight in total, four of them I did last year and this year I am running the London Marathon again and also plan to run the Edinburgh and York Marathons.
I couldn’t do any of these without the assistance of a guide runner. I will be running London with a guide, Wendy Shaw, who was my guide runner for my first marathon in Edinburgh and also guided me last year.
Most of my training I do on a Treadmill but plan to venture outside once the weather improves. I have a few half marathons on the lead up to the London marathon (Blackpool, Alloa and Cardiff) to help with the training. Overall training this year is going well; I am hoping to beat my previous best time of 3:52 hoping to finish with a 3:40 – 3:45
So what is it that motivates me? I guess I’m a bit competitive and like to improve my best and don’t like it when I fail. I have my wife Denise to thank, who without her encouragement and willingness to get up early, take me to my events, and support me, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.