A Visually-Impaired Ultramarathoner’s Tale In The Desert

Song Gyeong-tae walks through the desert with a guide. Photo: Hankyoreh

Song Gyeong-tae walks through the desert with a guide. Photo: Hankyoreh

He has recently written a book about his experiences.

In 1982, Song Gyeong-tae of  South Korea lost his eyesight in a freak grenade explosion that occurred when he was a new army recruit. Afterwards, he fell into a deep depression, going as far as attempting suicide. Things got worse for him, when the massage parlor he owned was robbed.

However, things turned around for Song when he ran his first marathon in 1998.

After that, he was hooked on running.

A year later, Song walked the entire width of the American continent (4000 kilometers) accompanied by a lone guide dog. His thirst for adventure was unquenched and so he continued to do daring things–unfazed by his disability. In 2001, Song ascended the summit of Canada’s Squamish Mountain, a four-day and three-night climb. Four years after that, he began taking part in extreme ultra marathons. In the span of three years, Song took part in three 250-kilometer desert ultras in the Gobi, Atacama, and Sahara deserts.

In each race, Song finished dead last.

He has recently written a book in Korean about his desert ultra “grand slam”. Translated, the book’s title is “God’s Breath Sahara”.

For More: The Hankyoreh

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