Former Olympic Triple Jumper Jonathan Edwards oozed cheery, trustworthy vibes with a sparkle in his eye and signature warm smile.
It was when this beaming grin was masked from view - and I was plunged into darkness courtesy of an eye-mask - that we tested the true meaning of blind faith.
The world record holder acted as a guide for 100m of blind running to launch Standard Chartered’s ambassador team for The Great City Race 2015 in aid of its charity, Seeing is Believing.
He teamed up with runners including Standard Chartered’s CEO for Europe Richard Holmes as well as five-time Paralympic Gold medallist Noel Thatcher and two-time Paralympic Silver medallist, Libby Clegg.
Fortunately the Paralympian champions were on hand to offer tips to prepare Jonathan for a similar role on race day.
Fresh from reporting duties for the BBC the day before, he tightened the band between us and chirped a countdown ahead of the turns of the miniature replica route before enthusiastically urging more speed on the home straight.
And communication, Libby and Noel agreed, is crucial to success.
“I completely trust my guide Mikail,” said Libby, now training for this autumn’s World Championships in Doha.
“We are good friends as well, and that’s really important.
“I’ve had other people guide me and I get quite nervous but in the race, I don’t say a word.
“He speaks to me and says different things throughout - it can be technique, something to do with positioning and where my arm is or just general encouragement.”
The July 9 event marks the 11th time Standard Chartered has supported the challenge.
More than 5,000 runners will tackle the 5km City course with rivalry sparked between around 350 firms.
This year, the target is to secure £100,000 for the East Africa Child Eye Health project - a sum which will help the firm on its overall mission to raise 100million dollars for Seeing is Believing by 2020.
Noel has taken on the role of ambassador for the past five years.
He said: “As a runner it’s great to be involved with something so dynamic.
“It’s not often you get the chance to run through the closed-off streets of the City of London past landmarks like the Bank of England.
“There are 5,000 runners with their own private battles and intra-sector battles - it’s an amazing atmosphere.”
Go to cityrace.co.uk .