Team With A Vision 5K is for Everyone
The Team With A Vision 5K epitomizes Community and Teamwork. It will be the New England Championship for Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes, and an ideal race for all runners and walkers.
Posted Tuesday, 13 September, 2005
The excitement is really building for the Fifth Anniversary Team With A Vision 5K, for all runners and walkers—beginners to elite, sighted and visually impaired. This race provides one of the flattest, fastest 5K’s anywhere. It is only three weeks away, running Saturday, September 17, 2005, at 10:00 a.m. The TWAV 5K is a wonderfully scenic course, and runs for a vital, exceptional cause—to “benefit research, technology, advocacy, literacy, and support services to enhance the quality of life for thousands of blind and visually impaired individuals”.
It will run along the Charles River in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, crossing the river twice on a beautiful clockwise loop. It is the ideal venue for both beginners and experienced athletes, a personal record course if ever there was one. This is one race you do not want to miss.
It will truly be a family day, with a kids’ fun run at 11:10 a.m. All participants in the fun-run receive a medal and a T-shirt for an entry fee of only $5.00. The Awards Ceremony will follow the runs, with a picnic and live music. Post race food will be outstanding, with burghers, hot dogs, fruit and fruit juice, bagels, chips, soft drinks, water, and the famous Legal Sea Foods Chowder, a huge hit with all participants.
Lisa Hughes, News Anchor for CBS4 in Boston, will be participating for the fourth time. She will be a guide runner for a blind athlete, and will be Master of Ceremonies at the post race festivities. She has been named Honorary Captain of the Team With A Vision.
And this will be my first experience as a guide runner, and I can’t wait until race day. I have been trying for years to convince others to run, at every level, and to reap the health and lifestyle benefits inherent for running athletes. There are many blind athletes who would love to be on the road, but have no guides to help. I encourage other sighted runners to do the same.
The Team With A Vision 5K is becoming a classic, in only its fifth year. Race Director, Joe Quintanilla would like to expand to a National Championship for Blind and Visually Impaired athletes. And perhaps even take it to the international level with the International Blind Sports Federation. These goals are in line with this prestigious international body, seeking the integration of blind and visually impaired athletes through sports at all levels.
Records and Elites
Henry Wanyoike of Kenya (16:12) and Pam McGonigle from Pennsylvania (19:40) hold the course records, as well as the records for the blind and visually impaired divisions. Both were set in 2002. Wanyoike won two gold medals and set two world records at the Paralympics in Athens last September—31:47 for 10K and 15:11 at 5K. He has also clocked 2:32 at the London Marathon. McGonigle is also an elite international athlete, running both the 800 and 1500 meters in Athens. She is expected to return. The Paralympics, by the way (not to be confused with the Special Olympics), have become the second largest athletic event in the world after the Olympic Games.
Race Director Quintanilla also expects Moises Beristain of Mexico to run the TWAV 5K. He has run 15:30 for 5000 meters, and was the former world record holder at 10K, set at the Sydney Paralympic Games. He rolled to a 2:42 marathon recently at the World Championship for the Blind in Japan.
Kurt Fiene and Mike Castle, both elite masters, will compete at TWAV. They finished 3-4 in 2002. They will run the 5000 and 10000 meters at the Pan American Games for the Blind before heading to Boston. Fiene is a three-time medallist at the World Championships, including gold in the 5000 (16:01), silver at 10K (34:18) and bronze for 1500 (4:10). He is a professional athlete making a “comeback”, aiming for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Both are very inspirational for younger blind and visually impaired athletes.
Athens gold medallist Joseph Lomongo, also of Kenya, is expected, along with two countrymen who medalled in the 2004 Paralympics. This race will definitely raise awareness about capabilities of blind and visually impaired athletes.
The Team, a Community Effort
This race really epitomizes the team concept and community effort. This includes an impressive array of sponsors, nine organizations cooperating for provision of services for the blind, hundreds of volunteers, race participants, and hundreds of donors who will pledge contributions in support of runner and walkers.
Bank of America is the Gold sponsor for the fourth consecutive year. They provide vital financial support, and also a dedicated core of employees who volunteer and fill key roles in making this event such a high quality road race. There is an awesome group of other sponsors, as you will notice on the Website, including Anna’s Taqueria and Legal Sea Foods.
These dedicated organizations make the Team: The Association of Blind Citizens, the Carroll Center for the Blind, the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Greater Boston Guild for the Blind, MAB Community Services (formerly Massachusetts Association for the Blind), the National Braille Press, the National Federation of the Blind, New England Eye Institute, and the Perkins School for the Blind. You can read about each of these essential programs, and link to them, on the TWAV Website.
The “Team” also includes all participants in this wonderful running experience along the Charles River, especially the many volunteers who give so much to make it a success. There will be runners and walkers of all backgrounds and abilities. The Team includes guide runners who share in the elation and accomplishment. And it includes donors with pledges to support these tremendously important organizations.
Competitive Teams, Online Registration
Speaking of teams, competitive teams will be running, including clubs and community groups, as well as schools. There will be female and male divisions (co-ed teams compete in the men’s division), with a minimum of five to score—there is no maximum number. This is yet another “Team” aspect of the race. Teams and individuals can register online with Active.com, and make fundraising easy and fun by creating your personal web page through www.justgiving.com/twav.
Blind and Visually Impaired Division
The Visually Impaired Division of the TWAV 5K has been selected by the US Association of Blind Athletes, www.usaba.org, as the New England Championship for Blind and Visually Impaired athletes. Anna’s Taqueria sponsors this division for the fourth consecutive year. This race is one of only two in the country to offer cash prizes for this division, $2,500, going five deep for women and men. This will attract elite visually impaired runners, and raise awareness regarding their athletic capabilities. These gifted athletes will encourage other visually impaired athletes to run and become active competitors. Running is one sport that is open and available to the visually impaired, beginners to elite international stars.
The race will head west along the Charles, crossing to Cambridge on the Arsenal Street Bridge. Runners will then head downstream on Greenough Boulevard to the Eliot Bridge, looping back to Artesani Park. The Charles basin is picturesque, inviting, historic, and lightening flat and fast. Only the slight rises on approaches to the bridges deviate from the flat course. Those two bridges are the eighth and ninth of the famous Charles River crossings above the Charles River Dam and locks and the Science Park. Everyone will enjoy the unique sounds and sights of the placid Charles.
The start/finish location is Artesani Park, the Brighton section of Boston, 1234 Soldiers Field Road. Check the Web Site for directions.
In addition to the Paralympics in Athens, and those upcoming in Beijing, blind runners are participating in more and more events, including a division at the World Championships in Helsinki two weeks ago. The Pan American Games for the Blind will be held in Brazil next week. The World Cross-Country Championships will be held in Tehran, Iran in April 2006. The Paralympic World Championships will also be held in Brazil next year.
The United States Association of Blind Athletes just hosted the World Youth Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and track and field was a large part of it. The International Blind Sports Federation, www.ibsa.es, meanwhile is preparing for the IBSA World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July-August 2007. Qualifying standards for these games are very high indeed. Events such as the Team with a Vision 5K are a training ground for athletes who will one day perform at this elite level.
Let’s Finish It
The Team With A Vision 5K has two finish lines, and participants can cross both: Run or walk and feel wonderful about the accomplishment of a scenic 5K race, and feel even better in helping with the goal of raising $150,000 for the unique nine organization partnership. They, and you, can foster and support athletic success and independence, as well as academic, vocational, and social independence and growth. They are dedicated to improving literacy, mobility, independence, and quality of life generally for visually impaired individuals and their families. Vision loss is universal, and can happen to anyone at any time.
Share the Vision. Run, walk, or volunteer, but please join us for a great and scenic 5K, a wonderful atmosphere, great food and music, and a terrific sense of community.