Deaf and blind team to compete in Aberdeenshire Beast race

Fundraisers are to take on the muddy Beast race in Banchory. Picture: Contributed
Fundraisers are to take on the muddy Beast race in Banchory. Picture: Contributed
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TWO sensory impaired people are taking part in a challenging – and messy – race to raise awareness of visual and hearing impairment.

Neil Skene, 49, and Leona Glennie 26, who both work for charity North East Sensory Services (NESS), have signed up to the Beast race with a group of friends and helpers to prove that a lack of vision or hearing do not stand in the way of fitness challenges.

NESS, which has offices in Aberdeen, Dundee and Elgin, supports over 4800 blind and deaf people in the North-east providing care and support to help them achieve greater independence.

The Prime Four Beast Race, a 10k obstacle challenge, which takes place over rough terrain, dirt tracks and forests, includes obstacles which would be a challenge for people with perfect sight or hearing.

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Taking place at Knockburn Loch in Banchory on 24 September 2016, the race includes sliding into icy loch water, wading through thick mud and crawling along tunnels.

Neil, who is blind, has undertaken previous fitness challenges including running a marathon, regular 10k competitions and in 2014, along with Leona, he climbed Kilimanjaro.

Leona is determined to ensure her lack of hearing and partial sight do not interfere with her adventurous nature and as well as climbing Kilimanjaro she has also done a skydive to raise funds for NESS.

Leona and Neil run with a strap, attached to a partner who communicates the type of terrain and obstacles, and the pair are running with a team of ten friends who will work as a team to complete the challenge.

Leona said: “I am excited to take part in the Beast – the obstacles sound a little scary but I think it will be good fun. I like to push myself and show people that being deafblind does not stop me keeping fit and challenging myself. “

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Neil added: “Leona inspired me to take part in the race as she is incredibly determined. We managed Kilimanjaro so I am hoping the Beast won’t be quite as cold! We are both very fit and run regularly, so I am sure as a team we will have good fun on the day.”

Graham Findlay, chief executive for NESS said: “Neil and Leona are inspirational.“

If you would like to sponsor Neil, Leona and Team NESS, they have a fund-raising page at

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