A blind runner and his three information canines made historical past on Sunday by finishing the 2019 United Airways New York Metropolis Half Marathon with out the help of one other runner.
Thomas Panek, president and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, was the first-ever blind runner to finish the race whereas being led by a relay of three information canines.
The Labrador retrievers, Waffle, Westley and Gus, took turns guiding the 48-year-old in the direction of the end line, a feat the human-canine workforce accomplished in slightly below two-and-a-half hours.
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Westley began the race with Panek, protecting the primary eight kilometres, earlier than tagging off with Waffle.
“She was on fireplace on the FDR!” Panek mentioned of the canine in an announcement. “She took off like there was no tomorrow!”
Gus, the “workforce’s anchor and seasoned veteran,” completed off the final four.eight kilometres, crossing the end line with Panek.
Talking with CBS, Panek mentioned he had all the time been a runner, however misplaced his eyesight simply over 25 years in the past, noting he was too scared to run after dropping his imaginative and prescient. After adjusting to being blind, we started to run with a human information.
“Though many individuals run with operating golf equipment, on the finish of the day you’re operating your individual race. And while you’re tied to a different individual, it’s not your individual race,” he advised the information outlet. “The independence isn’t fairly there.”
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In 2015, Panek created a “Working Guides” program at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a company that has skilled information canines for the visually impaired.
“Baseline talent set for a information canine and operating canine are the identical,” Panek defined. “They’re on the lookout for overhead obstacles and ensuring that the one who’s blind like me stays secure as we’re cell.”
Following the race, Guiding Eyes for the Blind introduced that Gus shall be hanging up his 4 trainers to steer a calming life as a retired service canine.
All 4 of those runners deserve a steak.
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