Vision-Impaired Runner Keeps On Going

Rhonda Copeland is known as the "vision runner." Photo: NBC Montana

Rhonda Copeland started losing her vision in the 1990s.

In two months, approximately 1,500 competitors will toe the line at the Missoula Marathon in Montana. Though every runner has a unique story to tell, Rhonda Copeland’s is especially compelling: she’s visually impaired.

NBC Montana recently chronicled her story.

In the 1990s, Copeland started experiencing deterioration with her eyesight due to a genetic disease. But that obstacle hasn’t stopped her from running.

“Some of my best running has been since I lost some of my vision,” Copeland admits. “I think [that’s] because I am losing my vision and realize how precious this freedom for me is.”

Back in 2007, she ran her first marathon and that was no small task, given the sweltering conditions that year.

“I made the rookie mistake of starting out way too fast — just hitting that wall, right around 20 miles,” she recalls of that first race. “I was just so happy that I finished and I told my partner ‘I am never doing that again’.”

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