In just over a month, the Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy Association (ADOAA) will be partnering with the Delta Gamma sorority to host a virtual 5K (3.1 miles) to help fund medical research for the treatment and cure of ADOA. We encourage everyone to participate, especially those in our lives who are affected by untreatable vision loss. And while running may come with some frustrating setbacks, there are many useful tips to help the visually impaired run.
To start, there are numerous organizations that assist the blind and visually impaired who are interested in running. This includes United in Stride, a nationwide organization that partners runners with sighted guides. They created a database searchable by zip code that shows the sighted guides and visually impaired runners across the US.
Vision Aware is another helpful organization that provides everyday living tips for the visually impaired. They suggest running with a guide as well, and using auditory direction (verbal cues) in combination with a short tether (a rope or cloth held between the runner and guide) for physical guidance. There are many important factors when choosing a guide. Trust is of the utmost importance. You must ensure both you and your guide are taking all necessary precautions to remain safe on your run.
Another important aspect to running with a guide is deciding who should set the pace. Make sure that you are comfortable with the speed and terrain and know what to expect on the trail. Additionally, your guide must be physically capable of protecting you, as well as energetic enough to simultaneously run at the pace you choose, speak to you throughout the run, and pay attention to his or her surroundings.
In addition to running with a guide, Vision Aware suggests finding other runners in your area to exercise with. Check out their full list of tips and tricks for visually impaired runners here.
Now that you’re prepared for your run, please join ADOAA and the Delta Gamma Sorority for a virtual 5K (3.1 miles) between September 21st and September 30th. Sign up here today and don’t forget to pass the information along to your family and friends!