RNC trainee Lenny goes the extra mile (actually the extra 13.1 miles) to help his client Louise run the Hereford half marathon

Lenny is sitting beside Louise as she is on the floor performing a ‘sit and reach’ test

Lenny is studying for his NVQ Level 2 Instructing Exercise and Fitness at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC). In order to gain practical real life work experience, trainees on this course are given clients to work with as case studies to write programmes for, monitor progress and conduct one to one personal training sessions.


Louise Merriman, who has been the Assistant Registrar at the RNC for five years, says “I’ve always wanted to run a half marathon but have never had the motivation to do it.” Louise volunteered to be a case study for Lenny in January and told him that she wanted to run a half marathon at some point in the future but wasn’t sure if she could do it. That’s when visually impaired trainee Lenny made her a deal “I’ll run the half marathon with you.”


Since January Lenny and Louise have been in intense training, meeting up to five times a week in a mixture of road and treadmill running to increase endurance and cardio fitness. The pair train at the RNC’s Paralympic leisure and fitness centre, thePoint4, where Louise also focuses on weights. Lenny explains “Building up strength and core stability will encourage better posture and a better running style for Louise.” Louise dispels the myth about women lifting weights “I’d never done weights in the gym until I met Lenny but I can definitely feel the difference. I think that there is an illusion where women think that weights will make them massive, which is simply not the case as we don’t have testosterone to build bulging muscles!”


Lenny previously worked as a children’s social worker until he was made redundant. “I had no idea what to do with myself; I was sat at home on my own every day going out of my mind. One of my friends told me about the RNC and I can’t believe I hadn’t been told about it sooner!” Lenny had always done sport as a hobby in the past but hadn’t thought about it as a potential career until he arranged a personalised tour at the RNC. “Paddy and Aaron (the Sport and Recreation Teachers) have been amazing, so helpful, giving me so much support and advice which I can apply as a Personal Trainer when I leave the RNC.”


Louise says “Having Lenny as my personal trainer has been amazing, he’s been really supportive and given me the motivation to run the marathon. He’s really knowledgeable and explains things thoroughly which has developed my own understanding of my fitness.”


If you are interested in studying at RNC, please call our student enquiries line on 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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