Robert: Blind runner and his dogs run New York half-marathon
A blind runner and his three seeing eye dogs made history this past weekend as they finished the New York City Half Marathon without the assistance of another runner.
Joined by his team of three Labrador Retrievers, Thomas Panek, president and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, is now the the first blind runner to complete the race in this way. The Labrador retrievers, Waffle, Westley and Gus, took turns guiding the 48-year-old, crossing the finish line in just under two and a half hours.
Panek says he had always been a runner, but was too scared to run after losing his vision. After making adjustments to his lifestyle to cope with his disability, he began running again alongside a human guide. He explains his decision to run solo (albeit with his canine companions), “Although many people run with running clubs, at the end of the day you’re running your own race. And when you’re tied to another person, it’s no longer your own race.”
The race was Gus’ last act as a service dog. He is now enjoying a relaxing retirement. Good boy, Gus.