Today I’ll be doing an interview with our local NBC station about my Run Over To the Ellen TV Show (Run Over To Ellen’s) and the half-marathon that’s coming up on Sunday. We’re getting quite a little bit of promotion for my fundraising for Guide Dogs for the Blind cause here lately, thanks to T and Carol.
They also just did a blurb on my fundraising efforts in the July issue of JUST CAUSE magazine which just came out a couple of days ago…here’s the link: I’m on page 65!
Below is an interview I did via email for a pets website…. http://blog.k9cuisine.com/
I don’t know for sure when they’ll post it, but I figured that I might as well let you, my loyal blog readers, check it out first!
1. What is your story-how did you get into running for Guide dogs?
I was diagnosed with RP (retinitis pigmentosa) over 12 years ago, and have been slowly losing my vision over the years. I have also been a runner for 17 years. Running is my passion, and that was something I didn’t want to give up. In Sept of 2008 I started a blog about being a blind runner. It’s about overcoming obstacles and envisioning a new reality. The way I got into running to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind was I wanted something to challenge me in my running. I was healing from a severe case of sciatica this spring, and needed some motivation. So my partner and I came up with a virtual Run Over to Ellen’s. It’s a 1,222 mile fundraising event that will take me 8 months to complete with the goal of raising $30,000 for the “Guide Dogs for the Blind” organization. I don’t need the use of a guide dog right now, as I get along okay with my white cane, but there are a lot of blind and low vision people who, without the use of a guide dog, have lost not only their sight, but their sense of freedom and ability to be independent as well. I know how important it is for me to be independent, and I wanted to be able to help others have that too.
2. What is the secret to your success with your running-how have you gotten to where you are today?
I guess the secret to my running, is that I enjoy it so much. I do things to keep my running fun and new, like this virtual Run Over to Ellen’s fundraising project to raise $30,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The challenge of running well beyond what I thought I could accomplish in a week, to the thought of actually getting on the Ellen TV show are all motivating to me!
I have always run for enjoyment, and I’m not a competitive runner, however I have competed in several race events over the years, including finishing a marathon, and a half dozen half-marathons, plus other races. I think all my running throughout the years has gotten me to where I am today, running more miles in a week than I ever thought I would want to, and not only that, but continuing to do it as my vision deteriorates more and more to the point where I have to run with my white cane.
3. What makes you different?
I guess what makes me different from other runners out there is that I am running with a white cane weaving back and forth across the path in front of me. Running is supposed to be one of the easiest and simplest of sports, and for most people, it is. But for me, it has become quite a challenge every time I head out the door to go for my run. I can’t just head out to run wherever my feet take me, I have to plan ahead and run on controlled paths, and I mentally have to be on top of my game, no runner’s haze for me. I can’t afford to zone out while running. I have to concentrate very hard on what’s around me all the time.
4. What is it about dogs that you love?
Well the best thing about dogs is that they love you absolutely unconditionally. We should take a lesson from them in that respect. And of course puppies are the cutest thing ever and they just have to make you laugh.
5. What is the neatest part about your work?
Well right now my work is to run! And I love to run. But more importantly, I feel that I can actually make a difference in the world. That is why we set up this fundraising project for “Guide Dogs for the Blind” to be a grassroots sort of thing. If everyone gives just $1, they too can be a part of making a big difference in the world. It’s about a lot of people giving a little to make a big difference!
6. Tells us more about the charity you’re running for.
“Guide Dogs for the Blind” is a great charity. All the services provided by “Guide Dogs for the Blind” to the blind and low-vision recipients are at no cost whether it’s the dog or the guide dog training or alumni services or retirement of the guide dog…There is no charge to the recipient. It costs quite a bit to raise and train a dog to become a guide dog, but the service that they provide is invaluable to the individual who receives one.
7. What are your future plans related to helping dogs?
I don’t know at this point, I’m still in the middle of this project…Maybe I’ll do a Run Over to Oprah’s! LOL
8. How can people find out more about you and the organization?
Check us out at www.RunOverToEllens.com , that’s my fundraising project website. My blog is at www.RunnerInsight.com and the donations page is at www.FirstGiving.com/VisionRunner
9. Tell us a little about you!
I’m 45 years old and I live in western Montana where I was born and raised. I had 33 years of good eyesight, but over the past 12 ½ years I have been losing my vision to RP, a genetic eye disease. But that hasn’t kept me from doing what I love to do, and that’s run. I did have to give up driving, riding my bike, and various other activities that I enjoyed, but I was determined not to have to give up on my running.
I have a blog over at RunnerInsight where I am updating with new posts three times a week, mostly about being a blind runner. I try to keep it inspiring and motivational, because even though we may not all have a physical obstacle, we all have some kind of obstacle or barrier or issue that we need to face in life. My strong belief is that it’s not what happens to you that matters, but what you do with it that defines your success in life. I am also in the process of creating a video workshop on How to Make Running More Enjoyable. So watch for that, it should be available before the end of the year, if not sooner.