2012 is my year for fundraising and raising the profile of my Super6 Charities.
It takes a lot of time to train, raise the profile and fundraise for each of the six, or even just one. I am lucky that I don't start work until 3pm so I have all morning to fit in my chores, admin, charity networking and essential social networking. But this all does have an impact on my family and work.
In a discussion with a friend, Wendy Shaw, she mentioned how she helps a blind runner in marathons. My ears pricked up and brain went into overdrive. Now, when I hear some thing I like, and that I really, really like, my passionate compulsive nature takes over.
Over the weekend I have done some research on what it takes to be a Running Buddy for a visually impaired, blind or disabled person. I have now come full circle, and will share with you an article that really says it all, and so I have simply copied it in it's entirety. Full credits at the bottom. I just could have written it any better so bow to plagurism of sorts.
I am learning to love running. I need to run to keep fitness and weight in check. But that isn't enough. I always there to be more to why I do things. Everything I do must help some one else.
So this new focus seems a perfect answer. I have already contacted The RNIB, my local Blind Association, and through twitter have chatted with a few helpful people. One of whom is a blind runner who does ultramarathons, Simon Wheatcroft.
Over the coming months I am hoping to meet and run with Simon to learn the ropes, so to speak, plus get involved with a few runners. I am now on a few databases for anyone looking for a Running Guide, including www.joggingbuddy.com,
If you enjoy running, and it's not all about personal bests and winning, why not think about being a Running Guide too?
Also, check out what Simon is doing! He really is quite amazing, and not letting his disability hinder or slow him down in lfe, literally!
This will be a twice-blessed pleasure to run if helping others, and myself to keep my weight off and fit n healthy!
This is what it is all about - from Jogging Buddy.com
FROM A GUIDE RUNNER’S PERSPECTIVE
If you are considering guiding a runner who is blind or visually impaired it is usual to feel apprehensive and doubt that you can do it. Don’t worry! This is understandable and shows that you care and don’t want any accidents or mishaps to happen. It is better to be apprehensive and careful than arrogant and unsafe. If you think you can be of assistance, speak to the visually impaired/blind person. Let them know that if they require assistance or guiding, you are willing to give it a go. Be honest with the person and talk to them about any worries or concerns you have about guide running. The guided runner may also have some anxieties. It is important that you do not feel obligated to guide. If you do not want to undertake guide running, then don’t do it. You can still be the person’s friend, it is not a friendship issue, it is a practical and confidence issue. It might be helpful to you as a guide runner to ask the person if they have any sight. Most people who are registered blind have some sight, for example, they may be able to see shapes, or might have some light or dark perception. Although it is good to observe how other people guide, it is important that you and the guided runner find your own way of working together. Don’t try to guide like someone else – just be yourself!
- Take it easy to start with in terms of time out running, distance and pace.
- Communication is key, keep talking throughout the run.
- Have belief in each other.
Although it is easier to run the same few training routes, try to go somewhere completely different on occasion as it is good practice for any race you may wish to enter. If possible in a race, try to have run the route on at least one previous occasion. If this is not possible, arrive in plenty of time to practice the first few hundred meters, as the start will be crowded and for this reason, difficult to navigate. Prior to racing, try to run with as many people as possible around you from your club, or take part in your club’s 5K time trial to become accustomed to running in crowded conditions, running at a strong pace. Be prepared for the unexpected, another runner pulling up short in front of you, or overtaking then slowing down in front of you. Think of quick instructions in these circumstances, agreed between you and the visually impaired runner, for example, stop, slow. At the end of the race, the visually impaired runner must cross the finish line in front of the guide runner. If the guide crosses the line first, both runners will be disqualified. At the end of the race, you remain in a guiding role. You should guide the visually impaired runner through the finish area.
FROM A BLIND RUNNER’S PERSPECTIVE
Running with a guide is a learning curve for both parties, remain open-minded and be willing to try different instructions, running ropes, routes and terrains. For totally blind runners, initially the motion of running might make you feel nauseated, this will disappear as your body and brain get used to running and your fitness level increases. Always be honest with your guide runner. If the pace is too fast or too slow, you feel unwell or uncomfortable during a run, share this information as soon as possible. It is easy to become comfortable running with the same key guides, you get to know each other well and are familiar with the instructions you require. It is important to encourage as many other runners to run with you. Be prepared to try running with new guides to give people the opportunity to try guide running and determine if it is for them or not. Be clear with new guide runners about the information you require while running, keep it straightforward and consistent. Runners and guide runners support each other while running, it is important to reciprocate encouragement and support.
Races or long runs:-
Always take an accessible mobile phone with you on a long run or during a long race. This will enable you to request assistance should the necessity arise during a long run and at the end of a race event or marathon will enable you to locate and meet up with your friends or family. During a long training run or marathon, for those of us with no eyesight there is little to distract you if you start to feel fatigued. Try to distract yourself by focusing on sounds, and smells around you, or focus on positive self-talk, for instance, focus on crossing the finish line, the medal at the end, a bubble bath or shower when you get back to your hotel! During a race it is easy to become distracted by other runners breathing, especially where breathing sounds laboured. If this starts to affect you, for instance you start to feel tired, try to kick away from them or drown out the breathing by focusing on other sounds around you, think about a song or piece of music that you like and play it in your head. As you might have guessed IPods and MP3 players are not great running aids for visually impaired people! In races where other runners are wearing headphones, it can make it difficult to make them aware of your presence behind them, particularly where you want to pass them on a narrow stretch. When crossing the finish line in a race, the visually impaired runner must cross the line ahead of the sighted guide. If the guide runner crosses the line first, both runners will be disqualified. When entering races, ask organisers for a discount for your guide runner, especially if they do not want a medal or t-shirt. Most races accommodate this request. Charity events, understandably cannot always offer discounted places. Arrive at race events in plenty of time, to get your numbers and get your bearings. Make other runners aware of your presence. Try to be understanding of other runners especially at race events if they do not anticipate the participation of a blind runner. By taking part you raise the profile of blind people’s participation in sport – it’s a learning curve for everyone involved. Most importantly enjoy running!
When guiding a blind runner you will get better as you do it and remember that the blind runner is a person, with their own family and life drama’s, personal bests, etc. It is also important to have your own goals as a runner and never feel obliged to guide. The guide runner will not expect you to guide them all the time. You may read this and think it’s very complicated but this is not the case. Tying shoe laces is easy, explaining how you do it is far harder! Running with a guide runner is a great way of getting to know people and make friends! The loneliness of a long distance runner doesn’t apply! Having a guide runner with you around a marathon route is just a fantastic opportunity to take part in and enjoy various running events. The camaraderie from other runners, particularly during marathons is just brilliant! Visual impairment or blindness is not a barrier to participate in sport – it’s a great opportunity to take part in sport in a way that works for you!
Kind thanks to -
Hazel McFarlane would like to thank Anne Noble and Graeme McKenzie for their invaluable input to the development of this Guide.