Unique virtual running event to take people on a journey to the centre of the eye

20 August 18

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Press Office

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Fight for Sight is inviting people to be part of a massive adventure on a small scale, with the opening of registrations from today for a unique virtual running event that will take them on a ‘journey to the centre of the eye’.

The free sporting event will start during National Eye Health Week, 24 September 2018, and will involve runners or walkers downloading an app and then listening to an audio story while they run or walk a 10k virtual race.

Participants will shrink to the size of a photon before being taken deep into the eye. The interactive app will use geo-positioning to give updates to runners at different stages of the course, revealing wonders about the eye and eye health tips along the way.

A virtual race is like a traditional race, but it takes place in a location and time of the participant’s choice. They can walk, jog or run wherever they may be, at any time between 24 September and 11 October, for a 10k distance.

Anyone can sign up for the event, which will continue until World Sight Day on 11 October 2018. It can be done from any location at any time, including a treadmill or even during the walk to work.

As well as being a fun and fascinating experience Journey to the Centre of the Eye is also raising awareness of eye health and raising funds for Fight for Sight to fund vital research to prevent sight loss.

Joe Pepper (photographed), 26, has an eye condition called choroideremia and had extensive sight loss until he took part in pioneering gene therapy which improved his sight. Fight for Sight funded the initial research that led to the clinical trials, through the Tommy Salisbury Choroideremia Fund. Joe is taking part in our virtual event to raise awareness of eye health and the need for more funding for research.

He said: “To grow up gradually seeing your vision deteriorate and having to contemplate giving up the sports and activities you love was soul destroying. Thanks to the research funding of Fight for Sight I no longer have to prepare for going blind due to ground breaking gene therapy which has stopped me losing my sight and even brought some back. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to sign up to the virtual event. Use your eyes - run through landmarks, along country paths or around local parks - and treasure the sights you see. I certainly do and now always will be able to."

Michele Acton, Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, said: “We’re encouraging everyone to join a massive adventure at a small scale! I think this is a fantastic interactive way to learn more about the eye while you get fit, and what better time to take part than in National Eye Health Week. Anyone can get involved and you can walk, jog or run at your own pace from any location.

“Half of sight loss is actually avoidable so it’s really important that people know about their eyes and how to look after their eyesight.”

Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. Fight for Sight’s overall research commitments currently amount to £8m for over 160 research projects at 49 different universities and hospitals across the UK.

Over the course of its history the charity’s research has resulted in breakthroughs that include new treatments to save the sight of premature babies, the world’s first clinical trials to test gene therapies for inherited eye conditions and the creation of a corneal transplant service.

Click here to take part in the virtual event.

Read more about Joe’s inspiring story in the Daily Mail.