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The Gift of In(sight)

December 14, 2009


KEITH MICHAELS
Substance Abuse Counselor, Age 33
Santa Monica, CA
Guides Blind Runners

A lot of people I train with compete, and this organization is not about how fast you are or how many races you’ve won. It’s just people who get together who love to run. And obviously if you’re blind, unless you’re running on a treadmill, you can’t run by yourself. Running has done so much for me in my life-I just decided that guiding a blind runner might be a nice way to give a little bit back to something that’s given so much to me.

I learned to guide, at first, by listening and watching John, one of the other sighted guides. Learning how to keep as little tension as possible on the tether, which is the equipment we use to stay connected while we’re running.

Sharlene’s been completely blind since birth. She’s – she’ll kill me if I get this wrong – forty-six or forty-seven years old. She’s run thirty marathons – she has an incredible spirit. All she knows how to do is to live life on life’s terms without the use of her eyes. She doesn’t let being blind get in the way of pursuing her dreams. I really like that about her; that spirit is contagious. You feel like an idiot complaining about the weather, about anything.

I suppose there’s a lot of truth to the saying that “The best things in life are free.” I go home after showing up at Achilles – on the days when I want to and on the days when I don’t want to, when I really don’t feel like running seven miles right then – always feeling like I can’t wait for next Sunday. Every time.

***story courtesy of Network for Good***

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