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10km race for blind and partially sighted runners

  • 06-07-2021 10:34am
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,057 Mod ✭✭✭✭

    Bristol Great Run 10km will host a race for blind and partially sighted runners for the first time in the Bristol 10km on 19th September this year.

    Unfortunately, this year with everything else in the world I've no idea what the travel situation is likely to be then, but from listening to the Free Weekly Timed podcast a few weeks ago I know there is a community of VI runners and guides at parkruns in Ireland. If anyone knows of that group that was on FWT then letting them know about this would be great. Even if no one can get over this year it will hopefully be a success and next year may be possible.

    If anyone is interested then let me know as I know the guys who set this up, and have put myself forward to guide as well for someone who's travelling in from another part of the UK without their own guide.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,057 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    Well the race happened this morning. Had 35 VI runners plus the guides running in the 10km and we got started 2 minutes before the fast 10km and half marathon runners (who then had the complication of needing to figure out what route to take at 1km).

    The chap I was guiding wanted to aim for close to 40 minutes, although he knew he wasn't quite up to breaking 40 at the moment. We tried to keep a sensible pace for the first few km, but the VI runner in first place was just hovering about 50-75m or so ahead of us and the idea of being able to go for the win was too tempting. I kept on giving pace updates and how far ahead they were and my runner just kept plugging away.

    We caught up with them just when the route got fairly twisting, cobbled and narrow... Which was also the point that the leader in the main 10km began to catch up. So a bit after half way we managed to pull alongside and then began to pull away. I then had to managed dodging pot holes, looking over my shoulder to see if they were trying to follow, and also keep out of the way of the fast guys who were now passing in bigger numbers.

    Lots more tight turns to negotiate, and my runner was telling me what food and coffee shops we were passing and whilst he might not have sight there was nothing wrong with his sense of smell.

    Was then clear over the last km when I could get a good look back along the course that we were clear. So then just wound up the pace some more took in all the cheers, stuck our hands in the air and try not to get tripped by the finish tape. Then some local TV interviews and social media pictures taken by the organisers.

    The closest I'm ever going to get to winning something as big as a Great Run event. Awesome feeling to make something like that happen for someone, and he got a nice trophy for the win. (I got a bottle of water and a bar of chocolate).

    Post edited by robinph on

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,057 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    You don't get many opportunities to get a finish line photo like this in your running career: :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭Lambay island

    Congrats - That is class

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭TFBubendorfer

    Brilliant, Robin. I'd be terrified of my runner tripping over some hazard I'd missed at that pace, especially after hearing a talk by Sinead Kane a few months ago about a similar occasion, but told from the perspective of the blind runner.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,057 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    Thankfully we had the road mostly to ourselves due to the few minutes head start and that there was only 100 or so fast entrants in the first wave of the 10km event. The main masses of the 10 km didn't start until an hour later and the half marathon speedsters only just caught the last few of the VI runners.

    The changes to the course this year compared with normal in order to accommodate holding both the 10km and half at the same time did mean it was a narrow and very twisty route in places and I had to keep my wits about me to spot all the potholes and corners coming up , plus the occasional slope and cobbles. Nearly lost my runner to the floor a couple of times due to not managing to avoid some obstacles. Think the only major issue with any of the VI runners was one couple, which was a husband (VI) and wife (guide), where the guide tripped up with a couple of km to go and ended up with a broken nose. :eek:

    It is incredibly brave what they do, and the trust they put into us amateur guides. Really worth giving guiding a go though if the opportunity arises, or you put yourself forward as a guide for a parkrun or similar.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,289 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Well done, what an amazingly selfless thing to do to give up your time to facilitate someone else to pursue their passions.

    Congrats on getting to break the tape, class!