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Blind man puts in marathon effort in Sydney -

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Blind man puts in marathon effort in Sydney

The World Today - Thursday, 10 April , 2008 12:40:00

Reporter: Barbara Miller

ASHLEY HALL: A blind British man is running around in circles today in Sydney's Centennial Park.

The 50-year-old is completing the fourth of seven marathons he's aiming to run in seven countries
in seven days.

His name is Dave Heeley, but he likes to be known as Blind Dave, and he runs with a sighted guide
Mac Carr.

Our reporter Barbara Miller caught up with Blind Dave on today's marathon and asked him how he was
doing:

DAVE HEELEY: Yeah, very well. Quietly confident and today has just been totally overwhelming.

BARBARA MILLER: So you were in early yesterday, Rio de Janeiro the day before, the Falkland Islands
the day before that - what kind of routine are you keeping to in terms of eating and sleeping?

DAVE HEELEY: Well, on the 7th of April, a minute past midnight, we actually kicked off with the
Falklands one and we did the Rio one in the afternoon. LA on the Tuesday because we lost the
Wednesday because of coming to Sydney.

With reference to the eating, we've got a physio with us from the Sports Institute of Northern
Ireland. He's trying to get at least 6,000 calories into us. Sleep-wise, we may have a bed, when we
finish here I think we've got a bed for a few hours.

BARBARA MILLER: It's the only time in seven marathons that you are going to have a bed?

DAVE HEELEY: I think we've got a bed. We get back to London and I think we've got a bed before the
London marathon, yeah.

BARBARA MILLER: How have you been training for this?

DAVE HEELEY: Oh, me and Mac have, we run New York 2006 and then London again last year.

BARBARA MILLER: Yeah, that's one marathon, not seven.

DAVE HEELEY: Yeah, but we continued sort of our marathon training to a degree but the proof is in
the pudding and we feel good, eh Mac, don't we?

MAC CARR: Yup, yup.

DAVE HEELEY: We've been training twice a day for six months, so yeah.

BARBARA MILLER: You call yourself Blind Dave, why is that?

DAVE HEELEY: Well, I'm blind and me name's Dave.

BARBARA MILLER: A lot of sighted people like myself might be worried about using the term "blind".
Might think oh, I better call him visually impaired.

DAVE HEELEY: No I don't like visually impaired, if you want the truth. I think it is a disease.
Sounds like it.

For my running career I've always had Blind Dave on me vest and it has just become a trade mark
which I've got no problems with it at all.

BARBARA MILLER: And so why are you doing this? Are you hoping to inspire other blind people?

DAVE HEELEY: Yes, to say to them basically that sight loss doesn't have any barriers. If your goal
is and whatever your goal wants to be you can achieve it. I mean I am running seven marathons. Some
people might not want to run one. Even run for a bus but the analogy that I'm using is like if
somebody with sight loss, and their goal is to get to the corner shop and this inspires or
persuades them, gives them the confidence then it will be worth every step.

We are supporting guide dogs across the world. I mean in the UK, guide dogs for the blind have been
absolutely fantastic to me and this is my way of saying thank you to them.

BARBARA MILLER: Can you train with a guide dog for a marathon?

DAVE HEELEY: No, no. Guide dogs are purely for guiding on a walking level. On a running sense I've
got this guide dog here on the left of me. He is a walking, talking one.

It's an important bit of kit is Mac.

BARBARA MILLER: Well Dave Heeley, I rather naively assumed that you wouldn't be going very fast if
you are doing seven marathons. I'll leave it there and wish you all the very best.

DAVE HEELEY: Thank you very much indeed.

ASHLEY HALL: Dave Heeley running marathon number four of seven alongside our reporter Barbara
Miller clearly running to keep up.