Deaf and blind marathon runner on track for Everest | BBC

A deaf and blind university student who completed the London Marathon has said she is “ready for her next challenge” as she prepares to climb Mount Everest.

Karolina Pakenaite, 28, from Merseyside, crossed the finish line with a running time of five hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

The PhD student was diagnosed with Usher syndrome at the age of 19, which means she is slowly becoming increasingly deaf and blind.

Ms Pakenaite said she was trying to make as many memories as possible as she did not know how long it would be until her hearing and vision disappear completely.

Usher syndrome is a rare, degenerative condition, which only affects about 10,000 people in the UK.

Ms Pakenaite has limited peripheral vision and struggles to see in low light and she said her guide dog, a golden retriever called Bosley, had helped her regain her confidence and face her diagnosis head on.

She said her marathon, which raised money for the Guide Dogs charity, was “a team effort” because she was guided by Sammar Gurung.

She added: “The final stretch, my legs were hurting, but now I feel fine.

“I’m ready for the next challenge.”

The University of Bath computer science student trained by running with a guide three or four times a week.

Ms Pakenaite hopes to become the first person deafblind person in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain in April 2026.

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