Fall 2016
Welcome to the United in Stride newsletter!

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope you all had a great summer! Have any story ideas, testimonials, events, or photos you want to share for future editions? Email us at krobidoux@mabcommunity.org!
Training and Support from United in Stride

We're here to help!
We love when local running groups or clubs want to reach out and engage more guides and runners who are blind or visually impaired, so if you would like any help in doing so, let us know!

We here at United in Stride are available to provide advice or assistance, either by phone, email, or (if possible) even in-person trainings.

If you are interested or would like to learn more about how we can help, please contact Kyle Robidoux at krobidoux@mabcommunity.org.  
User Story
"When I ran the Boston Marathon in 2015, I was amazed to see visually impaired runners running with sighted guides and immediately researched ways to get involved. I found United In Stride to be the most user-friendly and efficient organization to join, and I connected with a wonderful visually impaired runner on the 'Find The Partner' section of the website.

"We started running together a few months ago, and since then we've developed a great running routine, discussed ambitious goals, and established a great friendship. I'm hoping we can continue to run together, because she is an amazing role model for me."
- Brooke Phinney, United in Stride user

Austin Marathon Launches New Visually Impaired Division

The Austin Marathon on February 19, 2017, is the latest marathon to embrace inclusion with a new Visually Impaired Division. This change came about due to a suggestion from United in Stride user William Greer, who is now in charge of organizing the division.
As an athlete who is visually impaired, Greer has competed in 14 marathons, but found that only three of them (Boston, Chicago, and the California International Marathon) featured Visually Impaired Divisions. An Austin native, Greer has competed in the Austin Marathon four times.

"After seeing what a difference having a sighted guide makes in running a marathon," he says, "I decided to try to find one for the Austin Marathon in 2016. I ran my second best time that year, and started thinking about setting up a blind and visually impaired division for the Austin Marathon.
"Running has given a great deal to my life," he continues, "so I feel it is appropriate for me to provide help to other blind and visually impaired runners."
William Greer posing with his guide at the finish line of the Prickly Pear Ultramarathon in San Antonio_ Texas
William Greer posing with his guide at the finish line of the Prickly Pear Ultramarathon in San Antonio, Texas

So Greer reached out to the organizers of the Austin Marathon, who were happy to oblige.
"The Austin Marathon is thrilled to introduce our Visually Impaired Division," says William Dyson, Communications Manager for High Five Events, who own and produce the Austin Marathon. "Our goals are to highlight these athletes, work with their guides to provide a safer race experience, and adhere to guidelines set forth by the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA).
"By providing equal access and a safe opportunity, these athletes will be able to focus on their race and time and not worry about their safety or the safety of others."
Features of this division include:
  • Awards will be presented to the top three male and female finishers in the B1, B2, and B3 categories of the division.
  • Runners have the option to start just after the elite runners.
  • For runners who do not have a sighted guide and would like one, the marathon will provide one for them.
  • A free 5-minute massage will be offered to all runners in the VI Division who finish the race.
To register, go to the Austin Marathon registration page. You may sign up for either the full marathon or the half. One of the questions under "Participant Info" is whether or not you will be running in the Visually Impaired Division, and if so whether as a guide or in the B1, B2, or B3 categories (visit the USABA website for more information on the classification system).
Registration is open until the day before race day, but the registration fee increases the closer you get (visit the Austin Marathon registration info page for details), so sign up as soon as possible! After you register in the VI Division, or if you have any questions, contact William Greer at wgreer@txdisabilities.org.
Are you interested in approaching a race about establishing a Visually Impaired Division? If you would like any tips, advice, or assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to us! Contact Kyle Robidoux at krobidoux@mabcommunity.org.

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Don't Forget to Check Back!
United in Stride keeps on growing, with more and more users signing up every week. If it's been awhile since you last searched for runners near you, remember to keep checking the site - there could be someone new who would love to connect up with you!
And of course, keep spreading the word about United in Stride so we can continue to expand and move towards our goal of ensuring that no one is unable to meet their fitness goals because they cannot find a guide.
We Want to Hear From You!
United in Stride is only made possible due to the wonderful community joined together by a shared love of staying active, so we want to hear your stories!
Tell us your personal stories of using United in Stride - did you meet a new running buddy? Did someone you matched with help you reach a new goal or milestone? Let us know!
Also: are there any upcoming events involving runners who are visually impaired that you would like to share? Or any other news you think the community of guides and runners would be interested in?
Email krobidoux@mabcommunity.org and tell us!
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