Blind marathon runner inspires students

d495178 Kennedy Baptist College students Daniel Kempson, Kayla Chin, Heny Wanyoike (blind runner), Ruan Alberts and Jasmine Broomfield with runner Henry Wanyoike. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
d495178 Kennedy Baptist College students Daniel Kempson, Kayla Chin, Heny Wanyoike (blind runner), Ruan Alberts and Jasmine Broomfield with runner Henry Wanyoike. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

KENNEDY Baptist College students got a fresh dose of inspiration when blind marathon runner Henry Wankyoike visited.

The Kenyan runner, who won gold in the 5000m race at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, spoke to the students on Monday.

He smashed the world record for a blind runner in a marathon at the London Marathon before breaking it again at the Hamburg Marathon with a time of 2:31:31, both in 2005.

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Mr Wankyoike lost 95 per cent of his eyesight when he had a stroke at just 21-years-old.

“I’ve been sharing about my real-life experience, I want to show these young boys and girls they can make it like myself even with the challenges I’ve been through,” he said.

“I want to show them they have a better life here compared to the lives of children in the developing world so they should take advantage of what they have here.

“They can become whatever they want to be after they leave school.”

It is the first time Mr Wankyoike has come to Australia since 2000 and he was brought out by international development organisation Initiate Australia.

The runner also visited Rossmoyne Senior High School, Carey Baptist College and Curtin and Mt Helena Primary Schools.

He is set to take part in the City to Surf half marathon on Sunday.

“We aren’t doing much training because we are heading towards the competition date, we are taking it easy,” he said.

“When I’m Kenya, I wake up at 5am to prepare myself, in a week we try to cover between 150km and 200km.

“I’ve qualified for Tokyo next year and I’m training very hard because I want to get another medal.”