Boston, MA (PRWEB) April 02, 2014
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) and the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) have announced that this year’s Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 21, 2014, will have more blind and visually impaired athletes than any other marathon in the United States. Most are running in the Visually Impaired Division, one of just a handful of such divisions in the nation. Many of the runners in this division, along with their guides, are running as part of Team With A Vision for the MABVI.
“We are honored to set a standard for visually impaired runners in the running community,” said Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association. “These tremendous runners are a tribute to the great spirit and determination that have defined the Boston Marathon since its beginning.”
63 visually impaired runners are entered this year, 45 male and 18 female. 55 are qualified runners and 8 are entered on invitations (charitable organizations and non-profits). Of that total, 20 are registered as first-time Boston Marathon participants, and 19 are entered through deferments from 2013 because they were unable to cross the finish line. In 2013, 40 visually impaired runners were registered.
One visually impaired runner, Aaron Scheidies of Seattle, Washington, is a winner of the Boston Marathon Men’s VI Division the last two years, a seven-time triathlon World Champion and eight-time National Champion. He is training to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. He was the top male visually impaired runner last year, and this will be his third Boston Marathon. "As a visually impaired athlete I am thrilled to be returning to Boston to compete in the largest visually impaired race in the U.S.,” Scheidies said. “The growing visually impaired field at the Boston Marathon is a true testament to the B.A.A.'s support and commitment to athletes of all abilities."
"We're inspired that more blind and visually impaired athletes will be running in this year's Boston Marathon than in any other marathon in the U.S.,” said Barbara Salisbury, CEO of Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “This is the perfect example of what our programs are all about. With the right assistance, people who are visually impaired can do anything!"
Team With A Vision was created to raise funds and awareness for MABVI and to promote greater involvement of visually impaired runners in the race. The team is a proud member of the 2014 Boston Marathon John Hancock Non-Profit Program.
Some visually impaired runners have enough sight to run on their own, while most have sighted “guides” who run with them, often on short tethers, advising them of turns, potholes, potential collisions and other hazards. This is Team With A Vision’s 21st year.
About Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)
Established in 1897, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.’s Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial. The Boston Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors, along with the international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. The 118th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 21, 2014.
About Mabvi and Team With a Vision
Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is the oldest social service organization in the country that serves adults and elders who are blind or visually impaired. They provide vision rehabilitation services and partner with community and medical groups to create high-impact, cost-effective services. Team With A Vision (TWAV) was established to involve disabled runners in the Boston Marathon, as well as raise funds and awareness for the blind and visually impaired through MABVI. TWAV is an international team of blind, visually impaired, and sighted runners committed to race and raise funds for the cause. 2014 is the Team’s 21st year participating in the Boston Marathon.