My name is Casey Hyde from Perth and I just won the Ironman WA as a para-triathlete. I’ve had 22 guides in Perth over the past 12 months to help me get fit for an Ironman competition.
I am starting up an exercise group in Brisbane to help blind and vision-impaired people stay active in the community. Having a walking or running guide help a blind or vision impaired person stay active and keep their guide dogs active, will benefit the handler and guide dog.
I’ve started running at South Bank parkrun. This free and inclusive community event, that handlers and guide dogs can join. now has a new volunteer position – a vision impaired guide! The best part is that there is a tail walker at every event so no one is left behind.
My guide dog gets walked by the tail walker, she is being a Labrador while I run with a sighted guide.
On the 19th of March, I had a very successful workshop. We had 15 guides and 6 blind people come to learn how to guide. Every Wednesday I post up an invite in the Vision Impaired Brisbane parkrun group on Facebook. I love empowering blind athletes to get out into the community. The blind athlete can now drop their cane at the finish line and run, feeling confident with a guide. Meghan Taylor has also started an exercise club for blind and vision impaired people. It’s called Blind, low vision guide runners: exercise buddies Australia. We would like to find more blind and VI athletes to give parkrun a go.
When I started running with a guide 4 years ago I loved the friendships made with the guide and I stopped having injuries. Around the same time, I got my guide dog and I was shocked that the blind people at the graduation with their guide dogs, all had one thing in common. They were all overweight and their dogs were too! I didn’t want to be in this statistic and wanted to find out how to get people like me back into the community. For me the solution was simple – start exercising with a guide.
Depression, isolation, stress and anxiety can happen when having a disability, exercise has been proven to change someone’s day. It also helps include people who are out of touch with their community.
Tips for guiding blind or VI athlete…
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