Paralympian with sight loss begins ‘toughest challenge to date’ in Donegal

Irish Paralympian Peter Ryan embarked on a monumental ‘top to toe’ challenge yesterday, running from Malin Head to Mizen Head for Vision Van.

Peter, from Tipperary, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, leaving him now with only 10% of sight.

Peter received huge support from National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) upon his diagnosis and he is taking on this ultra-endurance running challenge to give back to the charity, aiming to raise funds for NCBI’s much needed Vision Van. The Vision Van will travel across Ireland, providing information on eye conditions, awareness and support services to local communities and areas in which eye health services may be harder to reach.

Starting yesterday, Sunday October 8, Peter’s 586km challenge will take over five days culminating on World Sight Day 2023 (October 12), with the longest leg challenging Peter to run more than three consecutive marathons in just one day. 

He made great strides yesterday, passing through Malin, Muff, Derry, Lifford, Strabane, Newtownstewart and Omagh.

Peter excelled at cycling, representing Ireland at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 and in 2018 he became the first Paralympian to complete the Race Around Ireland in just 122 hours. Now, Peter has turned his focus to ultra-endurance running.

“When I began losing my sight at 19, I needed to find a new purpose, and sport was it. I love pushing  my body to the limit and this challenge, running from Malin to Mizen in just five days, has become  my next big focus. 

“I received huge support from NCBI upon my diagnosis which has enabled me to learn a new way of  living. I am taking on this challenge as a way of giving back to the charity, to raise awareness about  vision loss and impairment and to challenge the stigma that is associated with disability. With the  support of NCBI I have achieved great things, I advanced my sporting career and became a  Paralympian – the first to complete the Race around Ireland.

“By undertaking this ultra-endurance challenge in October, I hope to raise as much money as I can for  the NCBI to continue the fantastic work they do, empowering people with blindness and vision  impairment to maintain their independence and live their lives as I do. My training for the run has  been going well, and it keeps me motivated that I can hopefully make a great contribution towards  the development of Ireland’s first mobile eye health awareness vehicle.” 

To donate to Peter’s fundraising efforts, visit or follow the Peter’s journey on social  media at @petersvision01 #PetersRun

Aaron Mullaniff (NCBI), Peter Ryan, Gemma OGorman, Katie O’Dea (NCBI), Robbie Henshaw, Rob Tyrrell (Campion Insurance) and Kevin Whelan (NCBI)


Paralympian with sight loss begins ‘toughest challenge to date’ in Donegal was last modified: October 9th, 2023 by Rachel McLaughlin