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Visually Impaired Teenager Completes Landmark Run

Visually impaired student Gareth Mainwaring has raised more than £1,000 for his local Goalball Club and Goalball UK.

The 17-year-old completed the London Landmarks Half Marathon recently, running with his mum Helen as his sighted guide (both pictured above).

A student at Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth in Wales, Gareth lives with the genetic condition Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. He struggles with severe fatigue and has an insatiable urge to overeat, which can lead to serious complications such as diabetes.

“I have decided to tackle this head-on by eating a low-carb diet and keeping fit by running and playing Goalball, which is a passion of mine,” explained Gareth.

“Goalball is a sport designed specifically for people with a sight impairment so that they can compete on a level playing field. It’s a really exciting, addictive and competitive sport and is a Paralympic sport. It has had a huge impact on my life.

“It’s very difficult being a sight-impaired person in a mainstream school. I always feel like a square peg in a round hole. I don’t feel that I fit in and often feel useless. This can make me feel quite lonely and isolated, and sometimes depressed.

“I discovered Goalball, and this has really made a difference to my life. I play for the South Wales Goalball Club and when I’m with my Goalball family I feel that I fit in, and I just feel normal.

“That’s why I decided to raise money for the South Wales Goalball Club and Goalball UK, so that other young people like me can find happiness and be part of a group where they feel truly normal and accepted.”

Goalball is an exciting Paralympic, indoor, 3-aside team sport, of attack and defend. The idea of the game is to score goals by bowling the ball along the floor, past the opposing team.

It’s a truly inclusive sport in that fully sighted players can also play domestically. Everybody is required to wear eyeshades so that nobody can see. Players have to rely entirely on their other senses.

The ball used in the game has internal bells that make noise, enabling players to track its movement. Meanwhile, the court has tactile lines, which allows players to feel where they are.

To find out more about the exciting game of Goalball go to



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