Blind Ultra Runner & Inspirational Speaker
Born with a genetic eye disorder, Simon Wheatcroft went blind aged 17 but has gone onto become an ultra runner and is a keynote motivational speaker.
Simon was determined to let his blindness affect his life, and with his ferocious drive, along with his background in technology and psychology, he pushed the boundaries of possibility and challenges audience to explore what they can achieve.
Whether he is competing in ultra-marathons, climbing mountains or going about his day to day life, he combines the use of technology and his fundamental belief and trust in his own abilities and body to overcome what many would consider insurmountable barriers and achieve his goals.
While he managed to propose to his girlfriend (halfway up the mountain) the summit remained elusive as it was too dangerous for him to continue to the top. For the first time in his life, Simon quit because he couldn’t see. It wasn’t the difficulty of the mountain, it was his lack of vision that defeated him on the day.
Returning to the UK, he vowed never to quit again because he was unable to see. Now all he needed was a new challenge. Making use of technology, he began a remarkable journey of learning to run outdoors entirely unaided aside from the Smartphone app RunKeeper and his remaining senses as a guide.
Over a period of seven months, he went from running between the goalposts on a football field to his first race of over 100 miles. Partnering with leading technology firms and using social media to find running partners Simon has gone on to run marathons and ultra marathons. In 2014, he decided that the 26.2 mile New York City marathon wasn’t enough, so he started in Boston over 250 miles away!
Leveraging his experience of working with leading technology firms (IBM, MIT, and Google), Simon Wheatcroft is creating the next generation of technology that will continue to enable himself and others to achieve what many bystanders would consider unattainable. Much of this technology was put to the test as he sort to test the boundaries of what was humanly possible as the first ever blind person to run solo the 4 Deserts Marathon in Namibia in May 2016.
Simon’s inspirational keynote topics include –
• How to create a more accessible world by adapting technology – Exploring technology and its often unseen applications.
• Quitting and Failure: How facing adversity creates a mindset to achieve your goals
• The end goal: minimize risk by setting achievable tasks
“I first saw Simon when he was the top-rated speaker at the IAB conference in 2014. He subsequently came and spoke to the UK Twitter team. The talk was informal, warm and deeply inspiring. Simon has a perspective on life, technology and – yes – running that is captivating to hear”.
“We invited Simon to speak out our annual UK & Ireland conference. His amazing journey and experiences truly inspired the team and made them think more deeply about their own untapped inner strengths. Simon delivered his speech with great humility and humor that only made it more powerful and resonate more strongly with the audience. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Simon as a motivational speaker”.
“Simon spoke at Google’s flagship Think Performance conference for C-level execs and simply stole the show with his moving and memorable stories of how advances in tech, specifically smartphones and now Google Glass, allows him to achieve his extraordinary goals.”