Blind former naval officer to run 10k for wounded Israeli veterans

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Blind former naval officer to run 10k for wounded Israeli veterans

Alan Lock on target to raise £1500 for Beit Halochem at Maccabi Fun Run on 23rd June

Pic: Alan Lock
Pic: Alan Lock

A 44-year old registered blind navy veteran will take on a 10k running challenge next weekend for a British charity which helps injured Israeli soldiers.

Alan Lock, a former nuclear engineer from Shrewsbury, is part of the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run and Israel Festival taking place in London on Sunday 23rd June.

Accompanied by his running guide for the day, Beit Halochem project manager David Thrilling, Lock is raising funds to support activities specifically designed for the newly blind Israeli veterans who consider Beit Halochem their second home. The charity is supporting more than 7,500 new veterans injured since the 7 October terror attacks.

Lock joined the Royal Navy in 2002, but three years later, at the age of 24, lost his sight due to a rare genetic condition. Forced to retire from the Armed Forces, he represented Blind Veterans UK at the Beit Halochem Veteran Games in Israel last year, taking part in cross fit and swimming competitions.

A practicing Catholic, head of operations for a training company in London and an experienced runner, Lock tells Jewish News he will bulk up on a huge spaghetti dish the night before the 10k and hopes to complete the challenge in an hour.

He adds: “When I lost my sight, there were some sports I really miss. Running was something that I could still do and I’m good at. I can do it with a guide and train on a running machine.”

David Thrilling, Beit Halochem UK.

He runs every year for Blind Veterans UK and estimates he has done “around 14 or 15 London marathons”, as well as competitions in New York and Athens.

He says: “I’m one of those weird people who enjoys running. But I’m at that age now with my knees that a 10k seems way more appealing than a marathon.”

David Thrilling will run alongside him, within his remaining peripheral vision, as a supporting guide.

Lock says: “I don’t have a tether; I’m not physically attached. Some of my colleagues do. Sometimes I think that will be helpful. But I find it easier if David stays at my 2 o’clock, or my 10 o’clock, slightly ahead of me, ideally wearing something vaguely noticeable like a luminous bib. I’ve got that reference point there and assuming he’s not going to run me into a ditch, I’ll follow him and we’ll communicate as we go along.”

An injured Israeli veteran takes part in the Veteran Games 2023, organised by Beit Halochem

Registered blind for nearly 20 years, Lock tells Jewish News he “had a great experience in Tel Aviv and wanted to pay that forward. But also I can empathise to a certain degree with people who have also served and sadly lost some or part of their eyesight. The one common thread is that it’s a huge change to your life. I’ve found the best way to deal with that is through sport and being able to challenge yourself and take part in competitions with other people in similar situations.

“It puts you back into that frame of mind that ‘I can go out and still do things that I have previously done’. That really helps to build up the self-confidence. It’s such a huge thing when you can walk with such a buzz after taking part in a swimming race, or in my case, losing to the Israelis in one of the circuit competitions.”

Beit Halochem’s David Thrilling says: “We are really thankful to Alan for his support to Beit Halochem, his solidarity with newly injured Israeli counterparts who have tragically lost their sight. All funds raised will aid their rehabilitation. It is amazing that a UK veteran and former Royal Navy Officer is standing by the Jewish Community at this time”

To support Alan, David and Beit Halochem, click here.

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