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Special park run at Rutland Water for blind and visually impaired

Rutland Water VI park run Photo: Lee Hellwing
Rutland Water VI park run Photo: Lee Hellwing

Rutland Water park runners about to embark on their 5km run Photo: Lee Hellwing

Last Saturday’s Rutland Water 5km Parkrun was aimed to showcase just how easy it is for someone who is visually impaired to take part, and 20 people turned up ahead of the 9am race start to learn about being a running guide.

Emma Herd, Rutland Water Parkrun volunteer, said: “The event went really well.

“We had 20 people turn up who were interested in guiding, and the day was the third most popular in terms of sheer numbers we’ve had so far – 277 runners took part.

“We now have five regular guides who are willing and able to help those visually impaired runners who require assistance, and this is a great testament to our group‘s continued efforts to make running accessible for everyone, regardless of running ability or disability.

“The course itself is very VI-friendly – it is a straight out and back run, with no challenging twisty paths or rough surfaces.”

Tony Hoare, 44, from Stamford, is one of those who tried his hand at guiding.

He said: “I learnt a lot in the one kilometer I guided – the awareness needed to spot potential hazards and explain them in a helpful way in plenty of time for the VI runner to react appropriately.

“It also made me realise the need to be clear with fellow park runners when we overtook them two abreast, while also taking into account runners who may be overtaking us.

“It feels very much like driving two cars at once; the extra width is a big factor, but there’s also the huge bonus of having two engines.

“Taking part in this event has been a privilege. Parkrun always makes me feel just a little better at the start of a weekend, but after today I feel that bit better again.”

The 5km park run is free to enter and takes place every Saturday morning at 9am.

All you need to do is register ahead of the event at www.parkrun.org.uk/register and bring the barcode so you can obtain a finishing time.

If you would like to find out more about guiding visually impaired runners or volunteering in general, please e-mail rutlandwateroffice@parkrun.com


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