John guide running with Tracey

My first run as a VI guide – updated

“Don’t fall now as someone is taking a picture” I joked with Tracey as we turned onto the final straight (hence the smiles in the picture). Despite it not being the easiest of courses with Tredegar House parkrun being mainly gravel and some uneven dirt paths – we weren’t ever close to falling – phew!

But let me go back to the start….

I completed the Welsh Athletics guide running workshop a few weeks before the run. Tracey noticed a post that a number of people had completed it and send a message to Lliswerry runners asking for a guide. I was keen to try out my new skills so jumped at the opportunity.

I picked up Tracey early so we could practise some of the course beforehand and to learn how we were going to run together. At the start line I positioned us in the middle of the pack – thinking I didn’t want to run along the uneven edges.

Throughout the run I was constantly warning Tracey about any uneven surfaces and any changes in elevation. Although I did forget a couple of times for a few minor lumps and bumps, you do have to concentrate a lot more than when running on your own.

We completed the event in a very respectful 29 minutes!

I only discovered after our run that Tracey is a Paralympic athlete and has won various medals at Paralympic games, IPC world and IPC European championships. She still holds the 800m world record in her class! I would have been far more nervous if I knew this beforehand!

I can’t have done too badly as Tracey has agreed to run another parkrun with me – this time a faster course and has challenged us to get a pb – no pressure then 😉

I found the whole experience very rewarding and great fun so I’d encourage anyone to complete the guiding course and help other runners. In less than 2 weeks I have had 3 different people reaching out requesting a guide runner – so there must be quite a demand.

Update

Tracey and I did Tremorfa parkrun a couple of weeks after the initial one and amazingly despite it being extremely warm (one comment from the Tremorfa team was that it was the hottest parkrun they have ever had!) – we did manage to get a PB. Tracey beat her course time by 46 seconds with a time of 26:46 – amazing!

Tracey is keen to point out without guide runners coming forward it wouldn’t be possible for people with a visual impairment to get out and run at all.

Next steps… I’ll be guide running with other people and have a few other crazy ideas – like being a guide runner for a half marathon event.