Amy McDonaugh and Rachael Weeks are providing visually impaired runners everywhere with an incredible amount of inspiration.
The two women are taking part in the Columbia Half Marathon and Marathon in South Carolina this Saturday.
McDonaugh will be running the marathon alone. It will be her sixth marathon. She won the women’s division of last year’s Flying Pig Marathon.
“There just weren’t other elite runners there,” a humble McDonaugh admitted of that race. “But after I won, it opened so many doors with visually impaired runners. I had no idea that there were so many out there.”
McDonaugh chooses to run without a guide. She’s completely blind in her right eye and has no peripheral vision in her left.
She had normal vision until she was 11 when she diagnosed with Arteriouvenous malformation, an abnormal tangling of blood vessels in her right cheek.
“I started running after I had my third child,” she said. “We lived in Ohio where it was gray and dreary all the time, so I was in the house a lot and struggling with depression because I couldn’t get out. And I just decided one time when my husband came home from work that I was going to go out on a run, and it’s just progressed from there.”
Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.