22 colleagues from Specsavers competed in the 2017 Great Ethiopian Run on 30 November to raise funds for charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO). They joined 44,000 other runners in Addis Ababa for the world’s highest altitude 10,000m road race. The event was started in 2001 by former athlete and current president of the athletics federation, Haile Gebreselassie.

The team ran to aiming raise more than £57,000 to help VAO provide sustainable African eyecare that improves the lives of people with poor eyesight, particularly where eye tests and glasses can help.

All of the Specsavers team who signed up qualified for company sponsorship, with the first £1,000 of the £2,600 minimum donation per runner donated by the optical group.

Bicester store director Sarah Marshall said: ‘I completed the run in just over an hour. It was hot, hilly and due to the altitude, I felt like I couldn’t breathe for half of the run. But when you run with over 44,000 people, with many more watching, it turned into an amazing experience.’

Donating unwanted glasses VAO

Director of Fundraising & Communications, Andy Holliday, said: 'The Great Ethiopian Run was a fantastic experience for all of us who took part. The Specsavers Team were so enthusiastic and such great fun to be with and the money they all raised, and are still raising, will help VAO to change the lives of some of the worlds most marginalised people through the provision of good sight.

Many thanks again to all who took part and to all their sponsors!'

About the charity

VAO has been Specsavers international eye care charity since 2008. The group has raised over £600,000 for Zambian eye care including an optometry technologists training course at the Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka, ten staffed vision centres across Zambia and a national eyecare outreach programme.

As well as direct donations and fundraising in stores, Specsavers customers can responsibly dispose of unwanted glasses to any Specsavers. VAO then recycles these frames and monies are raised from the sale of precious metals.

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