While running last Sunday’s half-marathon, I found myself behind a man who had a loose cloth dangling from his wrist. As I got closer to him, I noticed that the runner beside him was holding onto what was not a cloth, but some kind of strap. Suddenly, I got it; they made a team of a visually impaired runner and guide.
Watching the two of them running down Red Hill Valley Parkway together was absolutely inspiring. Each runner’s step was in sync with other’s; they were fluid. The visually impaired runner was especially light on his feet and always landed on his forefoot; his partner did the same. They spoke, one telling the other approximately how many more steps to take until a turn, stating kilometre markers, commenting on other runners that they were approaching and trying to pass – and how to get around them.
I was amazed by the fact that the vision impaired runner was able to run as smoothly and as fast as he did. But, I was in awe by the dedication and training that went into the guide’s run. He was obviously a strong runner but, rather than racing for himself, he likely spent months training with his partner so that they could run as one, like a well-oiled machine. I imagine him as someone who has done as much as he can for himself with running; now, he is giving back to the community and guiding others in their dreams.
Here I am, a week later, and I still can’t get the image of these two running together out of my mind. And, I keep thinking the same word over and over: WOW!