Hampshire man running marathon for blind veterans determined to lose 10 stone

Ben Rafferty Credit: Blind Veterans

A Hampshire man is on a journey to lose ten stone in preparation for running the London Marathon in 2024.

Ben Rafferty, who is 29 and from Portchester, made the decision that he had to do something about his weight which was having an impact on both his physical and his mental health. 

He's running for for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. 

Ben says: “Enough was enough, at 26 stone, I was finding life difficult, and I wanted to set a healthy example for my two children. 

 “I decided to lose the weight and to train for the London Marathon. To begin with just the thought of stepping inside a gym scared me.

"I could barely walk up the stairs at that point but now eight months on and I’ve already shred nine stone.

My health has been greatly improved already and I am so proud of what I’ve achieved.” 

Training for the marathon is helping Ben with his weight loss and is providing him with extra motivation to reach his goal. 

Ben Rafferty's weight loss so far Credit: Blind Veterans

There's an important family connection behind Ben's reason to run for Blind Veterans UK.

His great grandad, who is now 94-years-old, served in the RAF between 1947 and 1955. He lost his sight due to glaucoma and now lives in a care home and is regularly visited by Ben. 

Ben says: “Blind Veterans UK gave my great grandad more freedom after he lost his sight, they helped him greatly to be able to continue to access his computer which for him was his independence.

"Sadly, he can now no longer use a computer but it made him very happy while he could. 

 “My great grandad regularly wears his Blind Veterans UK tie with pride and that is how I will feel wearing their running top for the marathon. 

“It’s going to be an emotional event, personally for me it will mark my incredible achievement of reaching a healthy weight and completing 26 miles which would have been impossible just a few months ago.

"I’ll also know I have helped other families like mine, to give their loved ones back their independence and freedom after sight loss.” 

The London Marathon will take place on Sunday, 21 April 2024.