Visually Impaired Runner
Already freezing from the cold, wind and rain, I knew our journey from Hopkinton to Boston would be a challenge—but I couldn’t wait to run the course with Sammie as my guide. The first few miles were stressful, because the crowds were thick. Sammie made our presence known, and once we fell into a groove, my apprehension melted away.
Since I have no peripheral vision (I’m legally blind with only tunnel vision ability), I need to look down to see where I’m stepping. Even though I was tethered to Sammie, uneven roads, discarded clothing and crumpled-up water cups quickly turn a road race into an obstacle course.
I started to feel cramps in one of my IT bands at mile 24 but refused to give in to the pain. I thought I might cry out of frustration, but Sammie helped me pull it together by making a deal that if one of us cried, that person had to buy the post-race drinks.
A fellow runner noticed at mile 25 that people couldn’t hear Sammie alerting them that we were coming through. He told us he would run ahead to help clear the way. It was a wonderful gesture of humanity from a complete stranger.
Before I knew it, we made a right on Hereford and then a left on Boylston. I literally jumped over the finish (with a final time of 4:17) and then turned to Sammie to give her a huge hug. She helped make my Boston Marathon possible as I scored a 32-minute personal record.
Friendships evolve in new directions on the run. Even though Sammie and I had been friends for four years prior to her being my running guide, racing with her added a new element to our relationship that I’m so grateful to have.