Saturday, 4 March 2017

Great Notley parkrun blindfolded...

A few weeks a go I got a free download of the book Achieve Anything in just one Year.

Each day it gives you an assignment to do, start or think about, well yesterday the assignment was to try something new or out of your comfort zone. I asked my Facebook friends for some ideas and quite quickly I had a list of things I could do. I have written them all down and will try and get through some more in the next few months (possibly not a naked parkrun!) I decided a blindfolded parkrun was both achievable and would mean something to me (my son is registered blind) so Richard agreed to be my guide runner and Len supplied a rubber dog toy thing that he had seen used by a blind runner and his guide at another parkrun.

I met up with Richard and Netty for our usual run to parkrun and once there Richard and I had a practice go, It was very strange and a little disconcerting running without being able to see. Richard tried as well so he could understand what it was like and hopefully be able to guide me safely. I was a bit concerned that after getting coffee on his Leeds hat last weekend I may end up in the lake!

I managed to start my watch and we were off. To me it felt like I was running fast but it felt like Richard was just walking beside me. I know Great Notley parkrun route like the back of my hand, but without Richard I wouldn't have had a clue, his constant commentary kept me focused and feeling relatively safe. The sharp turns were the hardest and it's not something I would normally give any thought to at all. The hill was actually ok as I could feel easily ascending and descending.

The biggest thing I discovered was how tiring it was, I had to completely concentrate and listen to Rich 100% of the time, there was no going off into my usual random, running thoughts! It is no wonder Ben is so wiped out after travelling from college to home by train, I now understand why, and I was only 'blind' for just over 45 minutes.  As each mile went by my confidence, and I think Richard's, grew and our mile splits certainly show a massive difference from first to last mile.
Mile splits
So all in all in was an interesting, and I think enjoyable, experience. Of course there is no way to properly feel how it is for a blind runner as I knew the course and once I had collected my finish token and been scanned I was able to take off my blindfold and carry on with my day. It has given me some insight into running blind and the  trust you need to have in your guide. Good communication was imperative and for me I had to trust I would be safe but Richard was a good guide and once I got over the initial trepidation it was an experience I am glad I have had.

Turning up in the same shirt... Good job I couldn't see!

Thanks to all the runners who supported today and the Great Notley core team who constantly put up with my craziness! Thanks also to Lis for giving me the idea. I couldn't have done it without Rich, thank you for being a great guide x

Happy Running xx


  1. seriously impressed - the amount of concentration needed is enormous! Well done both of you and even better you stayed dry :-) Jane R

  2. I think I can honestly say that was the best experience I have ever had at a Parkrun, thank you for letting me part of yet another Bonkers adventure.