The Habermayer family have been enjoying their Saturday mornings at Ballincollig parkrun for the past few weeks. The weekly parkrun is particularly important to mum Nauzika, as she is totally blind as the result of a condition developed age 24.
Nauzika and her husband Peter have run in the past, and their children David (9) and Livia (8) are keen swimmers and footballers, but the family wanted an outdoor activity they could all do together. A work colleague suggested to Peter that parkrun might be worth checking out.
While Nauzika can undertake short journeys on foot such as the school run with the use of her cane, she requires a guide when she is running. At parkrun Peter runs by her side, using a guide rope, with Livia acting as an additional guide out in front.
Prionnsias O Keeffe, who was at Ballincollig parkrun on the Habermayer family’s first morning, had attended one of the recent guide training for Visually Impaired runner and walker sessions at parkrun. When he realised Nauzika might need additional assistance due to her Vision Impairment, he approached the family when he saw them arriving. Peter and Nauzika were pleasantly surprised with the welcome they received, and Peter was particularly impressed with the guide hi-vis vest offered to him to wear when running. As he explained, it means people are much more aware of Nauzika and he needing to be side by side, and needing a bit of extra space. Livia was also seen sporting her guide vest when she ran the following week.
Nauzika and Peter were full of praise for Ballincollig parkrun, the great atmosphere there, and excellent organisation of the events. They are seeing improvements in their fitness, but the biggest advantage is being able to run together as a family. They have already started encouraging friends to join them on a Saturday morning.
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