Netty Stevens was race director at Newark Parkrun, on Saturday. 090917LSP1-3
Netty Stevens was race director at Newark Parkrun, on Saturday. 090917LSP1-3

A blind runner completed a long-standing ambition by taking charge of more than 150 competitors at a park run.

Netty Stevens started running by completing a 5k Newark Parkrun more than two years ago.

Among a ‘bucket list’ of challenges that she put together last year to celebrate her 50th birthday was the opportunity to become race director for a park run event.

She accomplished her ambition at Sconce and Devon Park, as she led a team of volunteers who were responsible for the 167 participants.

Alongside her was Paul Davidson, who acted as her eyes.

The park run is held every Saturday at 9am. It is free to enter but participants must register first.

Netty, from Carlton-on-Trent, is believed to be one of the first blind people in the country to be a park run race director.

Netty Stevens (in blue jacket) with the Newark Parkrun race volunteers. 090917LSP1-2
Netty Stevens (in blue jacket) with the Newark Parkrun race volunteers. 090917LSP1-2

She said: “I was so nervous beforehand but it went a lot better than I expected.

“It was amazing. There were some things that I couldn’t do, like checking people’s watches, but I delegated that to others.

“One of the first tasks was to talk to the volunteers and tell them where they needed to be.

“You have to talk to the first-time runners and tourists, before giving a briefing to everyone.

“We even had a runner from Maine, United States, who took part as he was over here visiting friends. He said he really enjoyed it.

“Once I started the race I kept talking to volunteers, making sure they were happy, and checking equipment.

“Thankfully we didn’t have any problems on the day and I’d definitely like to do it again.”

Netty, now 51, is determined to complete the remaining challenges on her bucket list.

They include having a go on a zip wire and zorb-balling, in which people climb inside an inflatable ball and roll down a hill.

Earlier this year she completed the London Marathon despite injuring her leg after just six miles.