A VISUALLY-impaired and deaf woman is about to take on the Manchester Marathon to raise money for some good causes.

Laura Whittaker, who has Ushers Type 2 Syndrome, has been training for the last three years with running partner and friend, Caroline Furey to prepare for the marathon for local charity, Bury Tandem Club for Blind and Partially Sighted People and for Guide Dogs.

Caroline uses visual cues and a tether, which she gently pulls to help keep Laura on track and avoid obstacles.

Last year, the duo was set to take part in the marathon but were unable due to the pandemic.

Laura said: “Me and Caroline started running together three years ago, after we were introduced through a mutual family friend because I needed a running guide and our friendship just blossomed from there.

“Caroline has given me immense confidence and we have trained so hard.

“We trained before lockdown and managed to run 10k together which was such an achievement.

“Unfortunately, after that, lockdown hit and I wasn’t able to keep fit by going out and running or cycling so I hit a wall.

“But, Caroline pushed me through and we completed a 20k run, which we were so chuffed with.”

Laura added: “To be able to get back out there, to run in someone else’s company and feel the wind in my hair is just fantastic.”

“I doing this marathon, I want to prove to other with disabilities that you can do anything you set your mind to, and that you can do anything in spite of your disabilities.”

“To anyone with disabilities who may be thinking about doing something like this, I would say you should definitely try it because you will be amazed by people’s kindness.

“So many able-bodied people that I know have given so much support and helped me through every step.”

Laura has also cycled with Bury Tandem Clubs for six years, who organise bike rides of 40 to 60 miles across Lancashire and Cheshire every Sunday and cycles weekly at the Manchester Velodrome.

To support Laura’s chosen charities visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/laura-whitaker-3.

Caroline added: “We are both feeling very nervous but excited, when we complete the marathon it will be a massive achievement and we will be so proud.”