We’ve already discussed whether running with your friends is worth it or if the silence of your pets is better. For some, it’s harder to get find the added motivation a partner can give you. However, today is the day British Blind Sport and England Athletics re-launch their Find A Guide initiative
What’s the ‘Find A Guide’ database?
Launched in 2016, Find a Guide helps visually impaired people wanting to start running. The database holds information about guide runners across England who will support them to run. During this time England Athletics have trained over 1,110 people on the Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running workshop. They have also licensed over 720 guide runners.
Who is it for?
The database is an online tool for anyone aged 18 years or older with a visual impairment to find a guide runner, whether they have never run before, are a gym-goer looking to take their running outdoors or a seasoned runner looking for a new guide.
10.4% of adults with a visual impairment take part in sport once a week, compared to 36.1% of non-disabled adults.
The simple search function within the database allows users to search for a guide runner in their local area. All guide runners on the database are licensed which means they are DBS checked and have attended an England Athletics ‘Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running’ workshop.
Improvements to the database to make it even easier to contact guides. It’s part of a national drive by England Athletics and British Blind Sport to support more visually impaired people to get active through running.
How does it help?
Find A Guide helps people who may otherwise struggle to access running. Like Nick Thorley, a visually impaired runner from Nottingham who runs with an England Athletics licensed guide:
“Running has become a massive part of my life. It gives me a focus, makes me feel healthier, has increased my confidence and provides a real sense of achievement. It’s the generosity and commitment of guide runners that makes all this possible.
Strangely, I find running with someone gives me more of a sense of freedom and independence than anything else I’ve done.”
It doesn’t only make the runners feel great. Wendy Lawson is a guide runner for a visually impaired runner called Iris and loves spreading the love of her favourite sport.
“Being a guide is so rewarding as any events that I undertake with Iris are about helping her to succeed. I love the bond that Iris and I have, we always fall into step with each other she is a great friend and not just someone who I guide.
“I love the feeling that I can ‘give something back’ to a sport that I came into in my 40s. Members of my own club gave up their own running time to bring my running on. I like to think that I’m giving it back via my Run Leader Licence and guide running with Iris”.
Where can we learn more about ‘Find A Guide’?
There are 13 workshops planned across England in 2018 so if you’re interested in becoming a guide runner visit www.englandathletics.org/guide-workshop to find out more. To find a guide runner visit www.findaguide.co.uk.