Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Runners Round Table - Blind Runners and their Guides

Today I was fortunate enough to co-host Runners Round Table again. It is a wonderful experience participating in the show and I throughly enjoyed learning about today's topic, Blind Runners and their Guides.  After learning that my friend to Rich Scott (creator of Gowagon) , was a guide for a blind runner and had a website called , I had suggested the topic to Toni, AKA Drusy, who is programming director for Runners Round Table.

There were 3 blind runners and 1 guide that were guests on the show.  Cindy, Graeme and Phil all had different experiences being a blind runner.  Graeme likes to run holding onto an elbow and runs on trails over what sounded like rough terrain and has many guides that he runs with.  Cindy is tethered to her guide while Phil uses a rope with his guide.  All three of them will also run on the treadmill but like so many of us runners, prefer to be outside running.  All three of them said that blindness doesn't affect what they do and Graham was going to go snow skiing in the near future.

We talked about how they find their guides and that the guides are often scared about making a mistake.  Rich, a guide,  shared an experience where Phil had fallen, picked himself up and kept running and after that Rich wasn't as worried.  We also talked about trust.  The blind runner has to have trust with the person they are running and along the way of learning to work together, they also become friends.

Before the show I was reading about Cindy on her website at I already knew she lived locally to me since I tracked her down for the show after reading an article about her in the local paper.  But what I didn't know, is that our paths had already crossed.   Cindy works at Starbucks and I realized that I had seen Cindy wearing a button saying she was visually impaired at a Starbucks in Mesa.  Although the Starbucks isn't close by, I want to make a special trip over there to meet Cindy in person and get a non-fat hot chai tea.

Being a guide is something that I had considered in the past.  A couple years ago I talked to a man looking for a guide but it wasn't a fit on running locations.  We lived in complete opposite ends of the Phoenix area.  I've wanted to give back to the running community and have considered many things.  I'm not ready to jump into anything right now, but I am open to learning more and maybe one day being a guide.

I encourage you to download and listen to Runners Round Table and learn more about blind runners and their guides.  Toni after the show said the following in an email "One of the things I now understand is the determination that blind runners call upon to get on the roads and trails - the bravery to ever start running and the hassle of needing to co-ordinate their running with a guide. It makes my struggle to get off the "couch of doom" and out the door look absolutely trivial!"

Do you have any experiences being a guide?  Do you know any blind runners or guides?


Teamarcia said...

Fascinating topic! I have certainly seen and been amazed by blind runners and their guides at many of my races. Can't wait to listen to the podcast!

Jamie said...

Very interesting topic. When training this summer/fall I passed by 2 blind runners and their guides on a regular basis.

So in J's Christmas card/gift exchange we are paired up! I'm glad to paired up with a new to me blogger :) I can't find a way to e-mail you but you can contact me at jmbgr at hotmail dot com to exchange info.