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Casey's case for park run

HILARY Casey, winner of the visually impaired category at last year's Flora Women's Mini Marathon, is appealing to runners and walkers of all standards to join her at the first NCBI 10km in Dublin's Phoenix Park this Sunday (10am).

Hilary has set herself the challenge of breaking her mini marathon time of 53 minutes 18 seconds. "I'll need all the help I can get!" she says.

Like her older sister, Caroline, a noted charity campaigner, Hilary has had problems with her sight since birth. "I have ocular albinism, which means I am legally blind," she says.

"It's like looking through a camera when it's out of focus. I usually identify people by colours and movements."

She has never let her sight problems hold her back.

"When I ran the mini marathon without registering as visually impaired, I was running into pavements and hitting things. So, in 2009, I registered as visually impaired. Starting five minutes ahead of the main pack made such a difference," she says.

She even got one or two 'Come on Sonia' cheers from people who mistakenly thought Sonia O'Sullivan was leading the race!

Hilary had known she was in good shape thanks to the hard work she had put in with a Meet and Train group associated with her club, Dundrum South Dublin.

"We train in a field, even in winter. I know where the goal posts are and I always have someone running beside me, which is a great help."

Highlight of her athletics life so far has been completing the Dublin City Marathon in 2009, although recently Hilary has taken up throwing both discus and shot with DSD and hopes to compete this summer.

She will use the NCBI 10km to test her fitness. "I've worked as a social worker with the NCBI for the past 11 years and, like all charities, we're feeling the pinch. This race is very important to us."

Want to join Hilary? For your €22 entry fee, you'll get chip timing and a goodie bag, plus the chance of winning one of a number of valuable spot prizes. All profits will help the NCBI continue its vital work reaching out to the visually impaired. To sign up, register at www.ncbi.ie or contact 1851 33 43 53.