BLIND & DEAFBLIND racers conquer Banchory beast

Neil Skene (c-l) and Leona Glennie (c-r) complete the Prime Four Beast Race in under two hours, with their guides & team-mates.
Neil Skene (c-l) and Leona Glennie (c-r) complete the Prime Four Beast Race in under two hours, with their guides & team-mates.

Two sensory impaired participants were among more than 2,500 people who completed the Prime Four Beast Race on Saturday.

The race took place by Knockburn Loch, Banchory on Royal Deeside.

Entrants faced an epic 10km challenge wading thick mud, climbing cargo nets, clambering through tunnels and diving into the loch’s icy water.

And that challenge was all the more significant for Neil Skene (49) and Leona Glennie (26) who both work for North East Sensory Services (NESS).

Neil is blind and Leona is deaf and partially sighted.

Both wanted to participate in the event to show that sensory impairment need be no barrier to taking on life’s beastliest challenges.

Not that either are new to taking on demanding tests, however, both having successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014.

Speaking after the race, Neil Skene commented: “It was a Beast! We knew it would be difficult but we made it! Thanks to our team, we managed all the obstacles. The water and mud weren’t pleasant but it feels fantastic to have finished! We wanted to take part to show that even if you have sight or hearing loss, with the right support, there is no limit to what you can do.”

Leona Glennie added: “That was fun – can we do it again? It was really tough at times – the water was very cold and the mud pool a surprise. We worked together as a team to get over the high obstacles but it felt just fantastic coming over the finish line. Thank you so much to Andrew and Diana for signing throughout the event – even when they were cold and covered in mud!”

Gareth Hunt won the race in 0.52:24.22, beating nearest rival Jack Peckham.