I saw a post on Facebook asking for a runner who could help a visually impaired runner. They would have to run 5km between 21 and 25 minutes. I’ve only run 5km under 25 minutes a few times, but I thought I might know the runner. I emailed in offering to help. As I suspected, it was my friend, Khalid, who was looking for a guide runner for parkrun. Khalid takes his running seriously and has made amazing progress. I hoped it would be a gentle introduction to guide running.
As no-one else stepped forward to offer to help, Khalid was happy to be able to run with me… and even suggested that perhaps he could help me to get a PB! He also didn’t mind going a bit slower than usual as he has had a hip injury and has had to have some time off running to recover.
We positioned ourselves bit further forward than I usually do, which was good as we needed a bit of space. I was positioned on Khalid’s left and we both held onto a short piece of rope. I had explained to Khalid that I need to be careful with my asthma and that if I had any problems, I would let him know. He also understood that I wouldn’t be able to talk too much if we were running quickly.
We started out quite quickly, so that by the top of the first hill, I had to ask Khalid to slow down a little bit. My splits weren’t as consistent as I’d like, but I found it tiring to keep one arm fairly still whilst running:
I did my best to politely ask other runners to move aside where necessary and to guide Khalid around any obstacles. Fortunately, he knows the course very well, which meant I didn’t have to describe where we were. Unfortunately, at the bottom of one hill, lots of runners crushed over and cut the corner… which led to Khalid stumbling into a ditch. I felt really bad, but it barely broke his stride and he said he was fine.
I was really pleased with my time, so overall this arrangement suited both of us. Khalid had someone who could run with him, and I benefitted from a really supportive pacer 🙂