Stokie dad who went blind days after getting married to take on London Marathon

Ryan Malbon of Weston Coyney, who is registered blind, is set to compete in the 2024 London Marathon in aid of the RNIB
Ryan Malbon of Weston Coyney, who is registered blind, is set to compete in the 2024 London Marathon in aid of the RNIB -Credit:Stoke Sentinel

An inspirational dad who lost most of his eyesight last year is running the London Marathon to help others like himself. Ryan Malbon, 33, has Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), a rare disorder that typically affects young men with progressive visual loss.

The Weston Coyney father will be pounding the streets of the capital with a guide runner', joking: “so I don’t knock people over”. His training plan has included running at night time, wearing a bright yellow Potters ‘Arf T-shirt so that other competitors can see him more clearly.

It’s been a difficult journey for Ryan, as he’s been training alone and has often 'ran into trees'. But instead of letting this bother him, he just laughs it off and learned to take shorter strides. His condition makes daylight conditions extremely bright and difficult to run in, but he is determined to push himself and do his best.

All his sponsorship money will go to the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

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Ryan said: “I got married on January 28 2023, and five days later I was in hospital losing my sight. I was officially registered as blind last year. I can’t really see anything out of my right eye, but I have a bit of my peripheral vision that’s misty and blurry in my left. Following being discharged I awaited genetic testing to come back, three months later this came back and I was diagnosed of LHON disease.

“Lights are a lot brighter than they used to seem, so for my training, I’ve mainly been running at night. Before I lost my sight I ran the Potters ‘Arf and fundraised for Diabetes UK, but I hadn’t done much training.

“About 12 weeks ago I decided to do the Potters ‘Arf this year, but it’s in September and I wanted to do something sooner, so I thought of the London Marathon, but I needed a ballot entry, and most of the charities are full. Then I found out about a charity called the RNIB, and they got me a place and said I’ve got until June 2 to raise as much money as possible. The minimum I was asked to raise is £2,000, but I’m currently on more than £2,500 already.

“I wanted to do something because I’ve been put out of work now, and it’s given me something to keep busy, focus on and look forward to. The feeling I got when I crossed the finishing line in two-hours and 17 minutes for the Potters ‘Arf was inexplicable. There’s nothing like it, words can’t describe it really.

“It’s a rare moment to feel proud of yourself. Pride usually comes when it’s your kids who achieve something, but you do get that when you cross the finish line after a marathon. I’m feeling nervous and excited, but hopefully things go well and I don’t get anymore injuries.”

The London Marathon starts on Sunday April 21. To donate to Ryan’s fundraiser for RNIB click here.

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