South Shields runner loses hearing for fun run to boost charity funds

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A South Shields runner is set to embark on a 100-mile challenge while experiencing life being partially deaf in aid of charity.

Alan Lawrenson is putting his best foot forward to boost the funds of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

The 29-year-old has pledged to raise £10,000 for the charity by running 656 miles this year, for 100 miles of which he will be partially deaf.

This is being made possible by having gel moulds fitted into his ears by Specsavers audiologists, which will inflict up to 70% hearing loss for 30 hours.

The challenge aims to help raise awareness of deaf issues for the charity, which trains dogs to alert deaf people to important sounds they would otherwise miss such as the doorbell, telephone, fire alarm and baby monitor.

They also provide companionship.

“Being deaf in this race means that I will be weaker mentally, for example, I listen to music which hugely motivates me during a race and this time I will be running in silence.”

Alan Lawrenson

He said: “Specsavers have been amazing in helping me in this way. I’m incredibly nervous about this particular run. Even with many miles under my belt this year already, it’s a completely different challenge and I know it will be testing.

“The type of very long- distance running I do, I am aware that during a race you have natural highs and lows in terms of mental fatigue. A depressing low can last for a minute, or for ten, but I have trained myself to focus on the fact that I always have another ‘up’.

“Being deaf in this race means that I will be weaker mentally – for example, I listen to music which hugely motivates me during a race and this time I will be running in silence.

“Secondly, I use my hearing to help me indicate how I am performing. I use the sound of my feet hitting the ground as a measurement of how much effort I am exerting – if I am hitting the ground too hard I know I need to ease off. Similarly, I use the sound of my breathing as an indicator of how tired I am. I will have neither of these key indicators this weekend.”

Alan, who heard about Hearing Dogs for Deaf People when he started his job at MedicAnimal, will be taking part in the North Downs Way 100 run held in Farnham, Surrey, on Saturday.

Mr Lawrenson added: “Despite the difficulties I know I am going to face, I am so pleased I am able to do this. By undertaking a personal challenge of this scale, I hope that as well as funds I can raise awareness of deaf issues and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.”

To sponsor Alan, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RunEmailGuy.