By Tammie Hefty
Doesn’t it seem like EVERYONE is running these days? I don’t just mean “busy.” I mean that there are a lot of people who run in 5Ks and 10Ks…people whom I may have never pinned down as a “runner.”
This past spring, my daughter Evie’s TVI and O & M introduced her to the joy of running. One reason for doing this was to give her a choice in how to stay physically active. Fourth grade Phy Ed was evolving into a lot of “hit the ball” and “throw the ball” type of activities which were clearly not designed for people who have visual impairments. Running, it turned out, was a much better match.
Ms. SB (TVI) and Ms. K (O & M) had Evie wear a talking pedometer on her shoe, and they used an elastic chord as a tether. The leader would hold one end of the tether and run ahead while Evie held the other end of the tether and ran slightly behind. They tracked her progress weekly to show her growing stamina and endurance for the jogging, walking and running that they did each day.
Finally, on a perfectly sunny Saturday morning, my daughter, along with Ms. SB, Ms. K, Ms. K’s husband and me, ran a 5K from our house along Military Ridge Trail. We finished in well under an hour; which for little nine-year-old legs that had only been running a few weeks, was stellar.
I can’t say enough about the difference this experience made in Evie’s confidence. She would often express a belief that she couldn’t do physical activities, but she enjoyed spending time with these two ladies, and they enjoyed their time with her. Somewhere along the way, my daughter became a “runner” without even knowing it.
For more tips on running with a person who is visually impaired, visit http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/recreation/running-2805/235 .
Tammie Hefty lives in Reno, Nevada and publishes on her blog My Cup Lifted.