Guide Runner Tips

  1. Use a tether; 18-24 inches between the guide and the runner.
  2. A guide should try to maintain their normal arm movement; the blind runner will get more information from the guide runner, if the guide moves naturally, rather than keeps the arm still.
  3. It is suggested that the guide give a countdown to obstacles or turns that are coming up. For example if a speed bump is approaching they start counting down by informing the blind runner that a speed bump is coming in (say) 5-4-3-2-1-now. (50 feet, 20 feet, now). This technique gives the blind runner some advance notice and the blind runner will understand the guide's timing and ability to call out distances or steps.
  4. Guides can have a normal conversation with their athlete during the run. Words should be selected for easy signals. For example:
    • "Toward me" means a step to the side of the guide,
    • "Left" means a 90 degree left turn,
    • "Away from me" means a step away from the guide,
    • "Straighten out" means the turn is over and there is room for the blind runner to pull away from the guide,
    • "High step" means to pick up your feet (tree roots, crack along the roads),
    • "Ramp up" means slight incline, but no step up,
    • "Take a step back" means to back off the pace because you are coming up on another runner.
  5. Guides should expect that the blind athlete might bump into them periodically. When this happens they should not be pushed off track but hold their line and the blind runner will correct him or herself.
  6. There are different degrees of vision loss. Those with some functional vision, at certain times, may function more like a totally blind person (such as in very bright sunlight - for others, it might be when in a shaded area, etc.). This will depend on the cause of the visual impairment. Ask the runner before the race if there are any specific situations that need to be considered.

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Things to announce to the runner:

  1. That they can start to run, that they need to stand still
  2. When people are in front of them or that they are moving up fast on a runner ahead
  3. Mile splits
  4. That water stations are coming up (retrieve water for blind runner)
  5. When turns are coming up
  6. Distance left in the race
  7. What other competitors are doing
  8. How much room they have n front of them, how much room they have on their non guide side
  9. To pick up their foot, that a pothole or crack is coming etc.

Guide "No-No's":

  1. Do not pull the blind runner – let him/her set the pace
  2. The guide should never finish the race ahead of the blind runner. Stay a half-step behind (a finish with the guide head of the blind runner will result in the disqualification of the blind runner in a sanctioned race)
  3. Do not lose focus on task at hand – stay alert to the environment
  4. Never slow the blind runner because of their fitness or lack of fitness – let the blind runner make the decision on the pace
  5. Never forget that it is the blind runner's race. A guide's role is to facilitate the runner's access to the race environment.