Richmond, VA (March 31, 2017) Seven wheelchair athletes and ten visually impaired athletes will race in this year’s Ukrops Monument Avenue 10K presented by Kroger. This is the largest number of visually impaired athletes to ever enter the race for Sportable and comes as a result of a partnership between the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Sportable.
Through a partnership with The Richmond Road Runners, Sportable’s Blind and Visually Impaired training team has been training at Sports Backers Stadium on Tuesdays with the Richmond Road Runners 10K training team. “It has been a really fun eight weeks,” comment Sportable program director Marielle Rando. “We love to get our athletes out and about in the community. What better way than to train with Richmond’s premier running club.”
Each visually impaired athlete is assigned a volunteer guide runner to work with them every week. “Guide running is an art because every athlete is different,” said Charlotte Gage, a guide runner for the 10K. “Some like to wear a tether around their waist, others like to hold a shoe lace and some simply like to run next to their guide and be given verbal cues. It also takes some time to build the trust between a runner and their guide.”
The racing chair athletes started their training on February 4th and have split their time between various tracks and the Bryan Park azalea loop. “They’ve been training really hard these past eight weeks. It takes a long time to get their equipment adjusted just right so that they can push themselves and train in optimal conditions,” commented head coach, Sarah Krohn. For many of these athletes, this will be their first ever road race. “I love the Monument Avenue 10K,” commented Sportable athlete Crystal Jordan. “It is so much fun and there is so much going on that you barely feel like you are pushing 6 miles!”
The 10K wheelchair wave will begin at 8:33 AM and Sportable’s visually impaired athletes will race in wave SB starting at 9:29 AM.