'I act as her eyes': How these strangers ran a marathon together

Lei Wu and vision impaired runner Huixing Chen in the Melbourne Marathon in October

Lei Wu, a 40-year-old Melbourne resident, completed the Melbourne Marathon in four hours and 22 minutes last month.

This is more than 40 minutes slower than his personal best, but nonetheless, he said he felt an unprecedented sense of achievement.

“I heard the most cheers and applause at the track today,” he said.

A tether tied around their wrists connected these two athletes who had never met prior to running together in the marathon.

Mr Wu told SBS Chinese that three volunteer running guides played two main roles for Ms Chen during the marathon.

While one person (sometimes informally called a 'rabbit') holds the tether, the other two act as 'bulldozers' to clear the way ahead, letting the front runners know that a blind runner is approaching, Mr Wu told SBS Chinese.

"If I'm holding the rope, I need to make her aware of every step of the way, like how the road is changing, when to accelerate and when there's an incline,” he added.

Ken Ye, who works in IT in Melbourne, was one of the other two guides who mainly served as 'bulldozers' for Ms Chen in the marathon.

He said he found it quite challenging to know when to give a blind runner instructions when he was doing the training provided by Achilles Melbourne, a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates training and participation in running and walking events for people with disabilities.

To better understand the blind runners, Mr Ye told SBS Chinese that he closed his eyes and ran with someone as his guide.

Read full article here: https://www.sbs.com.au/language/chinese/en/article/what-is-it-like-to-b…

Credit: SBS news