Your New Year’s Resolution

Blind runner with a guide
What if I tell you that there’s a way to stay fit while at the same time helping someone in need. How’s that possible? – By becoming a guide runner to a blind athlete (A guide runner runs together with a blind athlete and guides him/her to run safely).

Stephanie Zupancic, a colleague of mine, volunteers her time once a week by going for a run with a blind athlete. She spends time with them by going for walks or a run. The reward for her is burning calories and staying fit while contributing to a great cause. It adds meaning to her life. “There’s a huge amount of enjoyment running with my blind jogging buddy, helping him to stay fit, healthy and be in the outdoors. We also have the chance to learn a lot about each other during those running sessions.”

Guide runners are desperately needed worldwide as there are quite a few amounts of people who are contributing to that cause.

If you’re already running or are thinking about it, this could be your great challenge in the New Year and the opportunity to try something different. Your help could provide a healthier and active lifestyle to a needy blind person.

Beginners are also welcomed (support is needed at all fitness levels). Doing good while keeping fit could be your New Year’s resolution in 2015!

Stephanie Zupancic
Stephanie got inspired to volunteering her time as a guide runner upon seeing a guide runner running with his blind athlete during one of her routine jog. She thought about doing the same. After researching the subject, and sending off queries, within 24 hours, she was contacted by three blind athletes who heard that she wanted to volunteer her time and were eager to have a guide runner.

She met her blind jogging buddy for the first time on a beautiful Saturday morning in Prater, Vienna. Without any formal training, they started running on that day. Since her blind partner had been running in the neighborhood for so long, he was the one almost guiding her path, and giving her direction, as they approach an intersection. This was the first time she got to know a blind person, and her jogging buddy’s level of independence took her by surprise; one could hardly detect his blindness.

However, one needs to keep in mind that a guide runner is not simply having someone jogging nearby, shouting instructions; it actually requires certain techniques. You need to simultaneously be able to talk, run and be the eyes of someone else who’s depending on your feedback for what’s going on. A guide runner has to be safety-conscious, and needs to be at least slightly stronger than the blind athlete.

Should you be interested in becoming a guide runner and/or a guide for tandem cycling (better known as a "bicycle built for two”) please feel free to contact Stephanie at She will be happy to share her experience with you.

Thanks for your support & Happy New Year!

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