Athletes from across the U.S. – and around the world – traveled
to Sacramento in early December for the 2018 USABA Marathon National
Championships. Nearly 50 runners
and more than 60 guides, including three Paralympians and 11 military veterans,
joined USABA for the 10th anniversary of the event.
Chaz Davis (Englewood, Colo.) and Jessica Loomer (Mesa, Ariz.) earned national titles and Nicholas DeWalque (Brussels, Belgium) and Juli Brandvold (Great Falls, Mont.) were honored with Richard Hunter Excellence in Running Awards.
In addition to the race on Sunday, runners and guides enjoyed
multiple gatherings and meals together to introduce them to opportunities available
to people with visual impairments as well as strengthen the community of the
Runners and guides were treated to a dinner at Sacramento Society
for the Blind on Friday evening where Delta Gamma volunteers from Sacramento
State and University of California Davis and staff of Society for the Blind
welcomed the group to their city.
On Saturday morning, runners and guides heard from Amy Bernal from
Aira about how
Aira is helping people who are blind and visually impaired “see” their world with
advanced technology. The group also heard from Kyle Coon, a fellow runner
who recently broke 11 hours at Ironman Arizona, about his journey as a blind
athlete. Representatives from Vanda’s Non-24 were also present to tell the
group about the product and how it can improve their sleeping patterns.
Saturday evening, a room of more than 150 runners, guides and
supporters came together for the annual pre-race dinner and hear from fellow
runner and founder of 2020 VisionQuest,
Randy Pierce. Pierce’s main
message was an assertion to find value and meaning in helping others. He shared
his experience helping others and also receiving help from others – and how
those experiences have shaped him.
On race day, there were Personal Records set and Boston
Qualifiers earned. The marathon was followed by an awards ceremony in which top
finishers were acknowledged and awarded medals. Following the awards ceremony
was a special time where people shared with the group the impact the weekend’s
events or certain people had on their experience. One story many won’t soon
forget is the story Deb
Yoder, a guide, shared about losing her home to the Camp Fire but attending the
weekend because she views the community as family.
Since 2009, USABA has partnered with Sacramento Running
Association to make the California International Marathon (CIM) inclusive for
runners with visual impairments. In addition to SRA, this year’s event was made
possible by title sponsor Hanson McClain Advisors as well as Aira, Delta Gamma,
the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, The Gibney Family Foundation, Healthy
Vision Association and Vanda Pharmaceuticals.
To support or get involved with this event, contact Richard
Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.