Former engineer sets himself ‘brutal’ race challenge - just a year after being registered blind

Jon Petty is race walking 100 miles for charity starting on August 5. He is blind and will be taking on the challenge with six guides including an Olympian. 
Picture: Mark Westley
Jon Petty is race walking 100 miles for charity starting on August 5. He is blind and will be taking on the challenge with six guides including an Olympian. Picture: Mark Westley
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A former engineer is to undertake the challenge of a lifetime just a year after being registered blind.

Jon Petty, 58, has set himself the task of walking 100 miles in under 24 hours to raise money for a charity which helps people who have suffered a brain injury.

On August 5 and 6, he will join 40 race walkers from around the world in the St Edmunds 100 Centurion 1911 race walking challenge, which starts near The Skyliner Sports Centre on Moreton Hall.

He will be aided by a team a six guides, including Olympian race walker, Daniel King, and will be raising money for the Livability Icanho charity in Stowmarket.

“I chose the charity because it helps people who have suffered a brain injury after an accident or stroke,” said Mr Petty, from Bury St Edmunds.

“These are hidden disabilities like sight loss, so I wanted to raise some money and awarness for their work.’

“I am very nervous about the walk as it is very brutal, but I don’t intend to stop and have been race walking miles each day to practise.”

Mr Petty first began to lose his sight through an hereditary disorder 15 years ago.

Over the years his vision deteriorated and he was registered severely sight impaired (blind) and had to retire from work last year.

His rehabilitation officer recommended he try Nordic Walking for exercise as Mr Petty enjoyed walking fast.

He then discovered race walking, and can be sponsored via give.everydayhero.com