March 20 at 23:00
Physical endurance training undertaken by a group of deaf students in Exeter is hoped to pay off this weekend when they take part in a new obstacle challenge.
They were inspired to enter by Tony Whiteley, a deaf student care worker at Exeter Deaf Academy, to raise funds for the school which is a charity. Tony, 51, said: "We are looking forward to the Escot Mud Run and all its obstacles. Our deafness is certainly not a barrier though. I want to show deaf young people that they can overcome any obstacle, any barrier, any challenge". Among those joining Tony in the run is budding deaf rugby player William Thomas, 18, a college student at Exeter Deaf Academy. He said: "It's good for deaf young people to get involved in challenges like the Escot Mud Run as we need to show that we can break down any barriers and break out of our comfort zone to try new things. I want to build up my fitness and be a good role model for other deaf young people in the UK."
William plays rugby for his home team in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales, alongside his hearing peers. He has also trained with Exeter Chiefs, Exeter Saracens, Wales Deaf Rugby and England Deaf Rugby. Also taking part in the event is Luka Samanovic, an 18-year-old college student at the academy. He said: "I am a profoundly deaf and I love my time spent at school and college. I want to raise as much money for Exeter Deaf Academy as possible to give something back." Sponsorship money raised by the academy's mud run team will support the academy's New Build Project. In 2019, the academy is relocating from its current site on Topsham Road in Exeter to a new purpose built academy on the former Rolle College campus in Exmouth.