Visually impaired runner races with guide in Victoria Marathon
Being visually impaired doesn’t mean you can’t run, but it does mean letting go and having trust.
On Sunday, visually and hearing impaired runner Corvin Bazgan did just that when he raced the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, one of the few races in Canada that cater to the visually impaired.
Bazgan partnered up with marathon volunteer Christoph Koch, who gave visual directions to his partner during the race.
“Corvin told me to be on the side. Be his eyes. I just guide him through and give him directions. Corner is coming up – to the left – to the right,” says Koch.
“I can only see straight. Ultimately, I’ll have tunnel vision so I can only see 10 degrees in front of me,” says Bazgan, “But if someone comes from the side I cannot see them.”
They communicate through a tether rope. When needing to move in a certain direction, Koch will pull on the tether and speak the direction.
“If Chris needs to have more control, he can pull the tether close and he can then steer me to the left, to the right or slow me down.”
Bazgan, a graphic designer from California is running in the hopes his time will help him qualify for the Boston Marathon.
But it’s not just about qualifying for Boston, he also wants to prove to himself and others like him that anything is possible.
“It’s important to go out there and just prove it to myself that I can do it. For me it’s a way to stay active and not fall into inactivity.”
“If it inspires others, it’s a great feeling.”
WATCH: RAW interview between Corvin Bazgan and Christoph Koch at the end of the finish line.
Running a marathon is just one of many accomplishments for Bazgan.
“I’ve climbed Mount Whitney, I’ve swan Alcatraz.”
As for Koch, he’s an avid triathlete, has never guided before, and only just met Bazgan on the day of the marathon.
It didn’t take long for the two of them to connect. After running three kilometres, Koch says he felt like they “were twins.”
“We cannot do it without the guides,” says Bazgan “Runners out there who want to try something else, try guiding.”
They finished the marathon in a time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.
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