20 runners train up to help visually impaired people to run


Over 20 runners from Leeds and West Yorkshire have trained up as visually impaired (VI) guide runners. There was a great mix of different organisations including affiliated England Athletics clubs, Run England groups and charities. 

England Athletics and British Blind Sport sit firmly behind the initiative to train leaders from local running groups and clubs, supported by the local County Sports Partnership – West Yorkshire Sport. 

The two hour workshop was a whistle-stop tour of guide running, covering; types of visual impairment, making a session VI friendly, and a practical that that incorporated good practice.

The newly qualified guides arrived at the workshop with different running experiences and motivations, yet one commonality seemed prevalent amongst the group when asked why they had taken this opportunity - they want to help others!  Attendee Emma said, It's because I am inspired by others who complete this role and want to provide opportunities for others to enjoy their passion for running."  Richard added, "Our club has a couple of runners who have sight issues and I felt it would be good to be more aware of what they face and how we can help." and Clive wanted to assist VI runners on local beginner courses, parkrun and other events.

By the end of the workshop the group had begun to understand what it is like to run with a visual impairment, and this had been done by temporarily changing theirs with blindfolds and glasses. On the flip side for those leading, a real sense of responsibility was apparent, and the use of communication and how this was conveyed to describe the VI runners’ surroundings and route became a vital learning curve.

The next stage of the journey for these newly qualified super leaders will be to begin guiding in their communities. To do this, British Blind Sport and key local organisations will bridge the need of VI runners with the availability of VI leaders.

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