LIFE

This Guy Finished A Course Designed For British Armed Forces, And He's Blind

"The electric shocks were full on.”

22/10/2016 8:11 PM AEDT | Updated 22/10/2016 8:45 PM AEDT
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Supplied//Tough Mudder
Robin Braidwood and his seven-year-old son Kyte after finishing Tough Mudder. Robin is completely blind.

"I could hear birds singing and the traffic. I thought 'it's daytime, I should be able to see'."

One night Robin Braidwood went to bed and when he woke up he had completely lost his sight.

A genetic and degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa was affecting Braidwood's retina. The diagnosis had been hanging over his head for a few years before he went blind.

"And it happened over night," Braidwood said.

"To be honest, I think it was actually losing my sight that made me come to terms with it."

We have to hold onto each other. So every time he got shocked, I got shocked.Robin Braidwood

After that night, Braidwood went through the process of grieving. But the 47-year-old was determined to stay positive, work toward goals and get out of his comfort zone.

Ten years later, staying true to his word, he entered Tough Mudder.

"The best word for it was confronting," Braidwood said.

Supplied//Tough Mudder

And understandably so. The obstacle race is an 18 kilometre course designed for British Armed Forces. It's challenging for the world's toughest dudes, so imagine doing it blind!

You have to crawl under barbed wire, squeeze through rotating barriers, climb up impossible steep inclines and swing off monkey bars. And just before the finish line, you run through a field of dangling wires delivering 10,000 volt shocks.

Sounds intense? Again, imagine doing it blind!

"I have a heightened sense of touch ... the electric shocks were full on."

Braidwood navigated the obstacles with a guide, Norbert Petras.

"We have to hold onto each other. So every time he got shocked, I got shocked."

Braidswood's key motivation during the course was his seven-year-old son, Kyte.

"Today was just having and showing Kyte that, yes, Dad has a disability but I can still get out of my comfort zone and to be part of something."

"He watched his dad and was so proud."

Supplied//Tough Mudder

Before losing his sight, Braidwood was a chemical engineer. Forced to change his lifestyle, Braidwood decided to pursue massage therapy when he went blind.

Forced to change his lifestyle, Braidwood decided to pursue massage therapy.

"I didn't want to do something that I didn't feel I could do it well. Massage was something I knew I could do just as well as a sighted person. Being blind is not a hindrance," Braidwood said.

"People think it is a big career change. But at the end of the day the body is just a biochemical machine."

Being financially independent was important part of Braidwood's process of accepting the loss of his sight. Being part of the community and having goals is crucial to being positive when living with a disability.

That's why he ran through a field of live electric wires to cross the Tough Mudder finish line.

"If I can inspire one person to get out of their comfort zone I'll be happy with that."

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