Mayor of Bristol is Guide Runner at Bristol 10k

Mayor of Bristol is Guide Runner at Bristol 10k

Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, is to take part in the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k, acting as a guide for a blind runner who helped set up a running community in the city for those with visual impairments.  This is the first time that Marvin has signed up to the 10k event, which takes place in the city on Sunday 13 May.  He is set to guide Chris Blackabee, from Hereford, who helped set up VI Runners Bristol, a group that supports visually impaired runners.

Chris set up the group with running friend Colin Johnson, from Bradley Stoke, who he met after Colin became his guide for his very first marathon.  After an approach from the group, Marvin, who has served as Mayor of Bristol since 2016, decided to take part with the group as a guide in the 10k.  Around 6 visually impaired runners along with their guides from the running group will join the Mayor and Chris at the event.

Marvin commented: “I'm a great believer that sport should be inclusive and activity where everyone can benefit from the positive physical and mental impacts.  I am delighted Chris reached out to ask me to be involved and support his call for more blind and visually impaired people to pull on their running shoes and take up the sport. His is an inspirational story of determination and achievement and I fully support his aim of encouraging others to get involved. I look forward to lining up at the start line alongside Chris and other blind and visually impaired runners.”

Chris, 49, explained: “Many blind and visually impaired people can often become isolated, suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence and this is something I am determined to change.  I've always had a visual impairment since I was born. I had a small amount of sight when I was younger but then by my late teens, it was completely gone.  I took up running around 10 years ago by tackling short distances and gradually improved both my physical and mental health. However, since becoming a student and now an employee at The Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford I have had access to specialist equipment and expertise to develop my stamina and technique.  Running has completely changed my whole attitude towards life and physical exercise, I've met amazing friends and achieved goals that I could have only ever dreamed of before."

The group hopes that their attendance at the event in large numbers will inspire others to take part in running, whether they are visually impaired, fully sighted or wish to become a guide.  Chris added, “It's brilliant that someone like the Mayor of Bristol is so supportive of the group as we want to inspire other people with visual impairments to come and give walking and running a go.”

Are you visually impaired and looking for a running Guide to run with? 
We have Guide Runners for lots of different paces, ages and abilities all over the country - find one at

Our news, straight to your inbox

Want to receive news like this direct to your inbox? Just to to confirm your details and the types of information you want to receive.

You can use the Forgotten URN or Forgotten Password links if needed. (In the event that you have not received a link / reminder within one hour, please check your spam and junk folders.)


Registered athletes

For more information about being a registered athlete and the offers available to you head to


Opportunities for coaches

Find out about development opportunities available for coaches with England Athletics at

For details of coaching qualifications see

For details of a range of other workshops see or

Many of the events and workshops available from England Athletics can be booked via uLearn. If you need a guide to help you creat an account / log in and book please click here (PDF - 900K).