Running Together: Visually-Impaired Runners and their Guides

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Resources and description

In this video, you will discover what it's like to guide a blind or visually-impaired runner.

If you're guiding a blind or visually-impaired runner, be sure to take a look at our other video in this chapter of our Running program, which will give you some hints and tips!

We interview Yves Desseaux and Ludovic Plantefeve to find out what it's like to guide a blind or visually-impaired runner.

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They contributed
Emma Collingwood - Sikana
Emma Collingwood
Translation
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I started running with my partner in 2006 with a goal of trying at least to climb Mont Blanc.

I met my visually impaired running partner at an event, raising awareness of the importance of guide dogs

and we decided to start running together.

I enjoyed running before I lost my sight, I started when I was in secondary school.

I was a sprinter, but of course then I could see.

When I lost my sight, I lost everything.

I went to a rehabilitation clinic in Paris and it was there that one of the group leaders got me interested in running again, and we started running together on a track.

When it comes to visual impairments, there aren't really any particular problems when it comes to running.

All you need is a good training programme and a good rapport with your guide.

Now I listen to his breath, I listen to his step, these are both factors I take into account when I'm running.

You have to pay attention to the terrain and to your partner.

It means you develop certain senses that you wouldn't typically use when running.

Above all, trusting your guide completely means you can feel confident that they will look out for you and are on the lookout for any potholes along the way.

My guide is always there to help me feel safe and put me at ease when I run.

Running is a team sport. It's a union, a bond.

The truth is that my guide's assistance enables me to run.

But over the course of our runs, a friendship develops which means that for him running is no longer an obligation, it's something both of us enjoy.

A shared experience, a shared passion and friendship.

We are passionate about sport and as soon as we've finished a run, we're off on another one and then we want to do another and so on.

Running always involves pushing yourself to some degree, because you're always trying to achieve a better result than you did last time.

When I run, I can express myself and feel fully human.

You forget all about your visual impairments.

When we run, other runners congratulate us and encourage us, and when we get there, to the finish line, we're happy.

We're pleased for ourselves and for our partner because we've succeeded in completing the challenge together.

On social media, I've created a page which follows the journey of a visually impaired runner and their guide, to encourage other people to do the same thing.

It's a wonderful thing to experience in your life. There's a lot of human contact and you become very close, you form a very very close bond with your running partner.

Take note those wanting to become a guide and take note those with visual impairments wanting to overcome this barrier.

It's not all over, even if you lose your sight, you have to go for it.

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