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Running Blind by William Thompson
Personal with bonus short story Not a Drill. The Affair. Killing Floor. Make Me with bonus short story Small Wars. A Wanted Man. Echo Burning.
Running Blind (TV Series – ) - IMDb
Without Fail. The Enemy. One Shot. First of all, thanks for stepping up and offering your time and abilities to guide a blind person, or to at least investigate the idea. Some ways to connect with blind runners is to contact your local blindness agency or organisation. Most of these will have staff or volunteers who focus on sports and recreation for their clients. Do a search on social networks as there are various blindness specific groups or broader disability groups that require guide runners.
Or even just ask a blind person that you see somewhere about where they can direct you as they probably have a better local knowledge of where to start. Tether rope, hold hands, solid cane, etc? The first thing to be mindful of is that you as the guide need to be aware of what is ahead of both yourself and the blind runner and get use to the amount of ground width that is required. Just because you will fit through a gap does not necessarily mean that you both will. Start by walking rather than blasting straight into a run to get comfortable with the concept of guiding or being guided. This will give you a chance to get the hang of things at a slower pace.
The way you prepare for obstacles mentally is a whole lot different at a faster speed. Even the concept of speaking directional prompts is different than normal and at first can feel unnatural to many. Start in a wide environment such as a field or beach rather than a narrow area such as a path or sidewalk. Again this gives you a chance to get familiar with this new concept or person. To get a better understanding of being guided as a blind runner you could always have a go yourself by using a blindfold, find a safe environment to run such as a field, beach or quiet road or track and ask somebody to guide you for a while.
This could be quite overwhelming for some at first, so start with a walk so you can give your other senses a chance to adjust. For example wind, traffic, people, the sound differences as you pass a wall or building compared to an open area, a loud environment compared to a quiet place.
Smooth surfaces, bumps or dips, uneven ground such as stones, cracks in the concrete or different cambers. Are you running slower than normal, are you nervously placing each step, are you still running tall or are you dragging your butt? If you as a potential guide are nervous about the whole guiding thing, then you may find it useful at first to run alongside a runner and their guide to see first-hand how it works, ask questions or even take over the guiding for a while.
A good guide is a confident guide. As a blind runner, I would much rather run slowly with a confident guide than run fast with a nervous guide. Precise, clear and timely notifications are safer, faster and much more reassuring for the blind runner. I cannot reiterate this strongly enough.
When speaking commands, give at least 3 steps notice of the event so as to give prior warning. In some instances a count can be useful. For example: Curb down, in 3, 2, 1, down.
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You may become fairly coordinated where just an up or down at the right times is all that you require. When needing to move in the direction of the runner, push the arm of the runner as well as speak the direction. When needing to move in your direction, pull on the tether rope or arm as well as speak the direction. Speak what is being approached. For example: shops ahead, narrowing foot path, traffic lights, obstacles, etc.
State any change of terrain. For example going on to grass, sand, metal road, puddle, foot path, road, etc. In situations where you need to run in single file, the runner can tuck in behind the guide and let them lead first. Do not push the runner in front and push them through. For example: Trees. Remember to state when it is OK to stand straight again because you look like a dork running like a hunchback for no reason. For example: Uneven ground, road works, for about 10 feet. Boo Judder bars. The runner may not expect a running commentary of everything that you can see, but things of interest are cool.
Remember to ask how much information is enough and how much is too much. It may take a few runs to get use to a lot of this, but it is important to remember that a great guide will be relaxed, alert, open and a team player. Some ways to connect with a Guide is to contact your local blindness agency or organisation.
Contact a local running group or club as they may have blind members or know of some or be able to ask their members if anyone would be interested in assisting. If you get really stuck, put an advert in your local newspaper for Guide Runner Wanted. You would be amazed how well this works. If you are planning to run frequently then it is a good idea to find more than one Guide.
This way you lower the risk of being without a Guide when you want to run. It can be great to run with multiple Guides to share ideas, share the load on longer runs and generally have fun as a running group.