Sixty-three visually impaired runners, most with the aid of guides, will run the Boston Marathon on April 21.
A field of 63 visually impaired runners will compete at the Boston Marathon in three weeks, the highest number for a U.S. marathon.
Forty-five men and 18 women are slated to line up in Hopkinton and run the 26.2 miles to Boston’s Copley Square on April 21. Fifty-five of them qualified for the race, while the remaining eight received invites. Twenty of the runners will tackle Boston for the first time.
“We are honored to set a standard for visually impaired runners in the running community,” said Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association, in a press release. “These tremendous runners are a tribute to the great spirit and determination that have defined the Boston Marathon since its beginning.”
Most of the runners are in the Visually Impaired Division, any many are on the Team With A Vision squad, which was created to raise funds and awareness for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI).
Some of the Boston runners will be on their own, but most will have a guide attached to them via a short tether. The guide tells the runner when to turn, when to avoid potholes and other runners, etc.
“We’re inspired that more blind and visually impaired athletes will be running in this year’s Boston Marathon than in any other marathon in the U.S.,” said MABVI CEO Barbara Salisbury. “This is the perfect example of what our programs are all about. With the right assistance, people who are visually impaired can do anything!”
Forty visually impaired runners were at last year’s Boston Marathon.