The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), in partnership with Non-24.com, will host the 7th Annual USABA Marathon National Championships in conjunction with the California International Marathon (CIM) on Sunday, December 6, 2015. Since it was established in 2007 with a small team of two, the USABA Marathon National Championships have become one of the premiere distance running events for athletes who are blind and visually impaired.
Forty-nine blind and visually impaired runners and 60 volunteer sighted guides will participate in the National Championships with eight relay teams and 25 blind and visually impaired athletes running the full marathon. Participation has grown significantly since the first team of two assembled in 2007.
Though competitors include blinded military veterans, U.S. Paralympic athletes, world champions, and international athletes, the group also welcomes first-timers like Jessica Loomer (Phoenix, Ariz.).
When Loomer began losing her sight 3 years ago to Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, she decided to put more effort into marking off her bucket list. “Running a full marathon has always been on my bucket list,” said Loomer. “Losing vision almost 3 years ago has taught me to never wait for something to happen. It taught me to make it happen now.”
Sighted guides and event volunteers are vital to the success of this event. Richard Hunter (Folsom, Calif.) serves as the Volunteer Event Coordinator. Hunter is a blinded USMC Veteran and will be running in the marathon with participants on Sunday.
“The USABA Marathon Championships event is the highlight of the year for many athletes,” said Hunter. “It is great to be able to get to know other runners with vision loss. With the assistance of more than 60 sighted guides and volunteers, we are able to inspire, educate and change the public’s perception of those with vision loss.”
In addition to volunteers, the event would not happen without the generous support of donors and supports like Non-24.com, The Gibney Family Foundation, Healthy Vision Association, Delta Gamma Fraternity, Department of Veterans Affairs – Mission Redefined, Paralympic Sport Sacramento, Sacramento Running Association and Sacramento Society for the Blind.
Donald Balcom – 2:55:45 – 2015 Boston Marathon; Finished first in visual impairment category
Amelia Dickerson – 3:21:29 – 2015 NYC Marathon; USABA Marathon Record-holder
Amy Kelley – 2:49:19 – 2011 USABA Marathon National Championships
Jason Romero – 2:51:15 – 2014 USABA Marathon National Champion
Aaron Scheidies – 2:44:31 – 2013 Boston Marathon; 3-time USABA Marathon National Champion
In addition to the marathon, 40 blind and visually impaired youth from the Sacramento Society for the Blind will participate in a MaraFunRun hosted by Sacramento Running Association near the CIM finish line at 8:00 am on Sunday, December 6.
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA’s mission: to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. www.usaba.org | Twitter: Link will open in a new window@USABA1 | Facebook: Link will open in a new windowUnited States Association of Blind Athletes
Link will open in a new windowNon-24 is a product of Vanda Pharmaceuticals. Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder is a chronic, circadian rhythm disorder resulting from the misalignment of the endogenous master body clock to the 24-hour day, disrupting the sleep-wake cycle. The sleep disturbance causes significant distress and/or impairment in social, occupational and other important areas of functioning. Non-24 affects the majority of totally blind individuals.
Link will open in a new windowVanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders.