Blind Leeds teenager’s charity race

Jack Cooper.
Jack Cooper.
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This inspiring 13-year-old is gearing up for a 2.5km run this weekend – despite being almost completely blind since the age of five.

Jack Cooper, of Horsforth, will be taking on the YEP-backed Jane Tomlinson Arena Mini and Junior Run this weekend.

The Ralph Thoresby High School pupil will set off from Millennium Square in Leeds city centre on Sunday to tackle the course along with 1,500 other keen young runners.

It is the second time Jack has taken part in the run – he also completed the race in 2010.

Teacher Steve Thompson, said: “He is a very determined young man. He’s just like any other 13-year-old.

Guide runner

“Despite the fact that he is severely visually impaired he really doesn’t let anything stop him from doing what he wants to do.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that he is doing this – he can do anything he puts his mind to.

“He doesn’t see it as a problem that he has to overcome.”

He added: “He’s a great lad.”

Jack, who wants to become an engineer and also plays football every week, said: “I would just like to beat my time from last year.”

Complications and functioning problems with his optic nerve meant that Jack started to lose his eyesight at around the age of five.

He will be running with a guide runner and will raise money for the Visually Impaired Team at Leeds City Council as well as the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

The junior race, which is on the same day as the Leeds Half Marathon, will include two courses – one of 2.5km for nine to 14-year-olds and 1.5km for three to eight-year-olds.

The free-to-enter run is thought to be the biggest mass participation children’s sport event in the whole of the UK.

The run – sponsored by Leeds-based print firm Arena – is now fully booked.

For more information about the day, visit: www.runforall.com

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