Vision 5K a great start to summer
Kick off your summer racing season with the Vision 5K! Held in the scenic Fenway area of Boston on June 2, this event is an ideal way to celebrate the approach of summer. It’s a sporting event in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, with a huge post-race picnic and party. You will want to add this race to your early summer schedule!
Posted Monday, 30 April, 2007
This is a unique race with many facets. It’s the national championship for blind athletes, but also a 5K for local runners and walkers. Presented by an alliance of five non-profits, the Vision 5K’s purpose is to “raise awareness and funds for the blind and visually impaired.” It’s a celebration for the entire community, a race that brings together both blind and sighted runners, and a chance for everyone to come and show their support for, and camaraderie with, blind runners.
The festivities begin and end at Roberto Clemente Field in the Fenway area of Boston. It is located between Fenway Park and the Museum of Fine Arts, off Park Drive. This is a beautiful area of Boston. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and there is a kids’ fun run at 10:15. Each child will receive a T-shirt and finisher’s medal.
After you run your race you will enjoy a marvelous post race picnic with many food pavilions, including Legal Sea Foods chowder and Harpoon Soft Drinks. Anna’s Taqueria will be there with their famous burritos, voted “best in Boston” by Boston Magazine! This fabulous post race party will also feature Soul Fire BBQ, Additionally, there will be hotdogs, fruit, bagels, and popcorn. Grab a cool snack from the Mix 98.5 Turkey Hill Ice Cream truck and relax.
While picnicing in the park enjoy the music. There will be nationally renowned performances by Danny Klein’s Full House, featuring Danny Klein of The J. Geils Band with some special guests--blues legend Mr. James Montgomery and Rockin’ George Leh. You’ll love the festive atmosphere, music and food.
The 5K race kicks off at 9 a.m. on June 2, and the course is flat and fast. This is your chance to chase your personal record, or to challenge yourself by running with a blindfold, or to volunteer as a guide runner for a visually impaired runner. You can walk or run, and/or you can become charitably involved by raising funds for the many organizations that benefit from this race. It’s a great opportunity for a visually impaired or blind runner to participate in a road race. From a youngster in Boston who is new to running, to the elite blind athletes of the world, this race is for everyone! This year’s race will serve as the 5K US Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) National Championship. The best blind athletes will compete not only with each other, but also with hundreds of others. It’s a race within a race, open to all.
The race, formerly known as the Team with a Vision 5k, has a new date and a new venue. Dave McGillivray and his organization, Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises (DMSE), will be taking care of management. Dave, a running legend himself, has been the race director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon for several years. Under Dave’s direction, all aspects of the Vision 5K are sure to run smoothly. He is “committed to making June 2 a great day for everyone who comes out!”
Dave is also the author of a book, “The Last Pick: The Boston Marathon Race Director’s Road to Success.” In his book Dave talks about always being “the last pick” in school sporting games because of his short stature. Dave understands overcoming and even benefiting from obstacles. Blind runners can relate to his story of being the last one picked. But in this race they are definitely the first pick!
McGillivray also has previous involvement in the cause, running the 1983 B.A.A. Boston Marathon blindfolded, with the help of two guides, to raise money for the Carroll Center for the Blind. He is excited about this race.
“I love the concept behind the Vision 5K”, he says. “So many charitable activities raise money to fix problems, but this race is about embracing possibilities. Our goal is to establish the Vision 5K as a premier event that showcases what blind and sighted athletes can accomplish, together, “he continued.
Guide runners are needed to run with the visually impaired. As a guide, you will be attached to your visually impaired runner with a lanyard, or string, looped around your finger. The guide is responsible for continually communicating what is coming, and gently guiding his or her runner away from obstacles. The guide will need to be able to run comfortably so will be paired with a slower runner. The guides are deeply appreciated. Pam McGonigle, who holds the record on the previous course, sums it up: “They’re making sacrifices to help me achieve my goals. They run with me and do my workout instead of doing theirs. If they were running for themselves they’d be running at a higher level. It’s a real sacrifice, and it’s a big challenge finding someone willing to commit.”
As in previous years, Lisa Hughes, WBZ-TV news anchor, will be coming out to show her support and will be running as a guide runner.
Runners and walkers can also challenge themselves to run outside of their normal comfort zone by taking the blindfold challenge. They will show their solidarity with blind athletes, and demonstrate that that there are no limits to what the visually impaired can achieve. They will also be paired with a guide. For more information on this challenge, go the www.vision5k.org. Hurry, you need to sign up by May 4 to be part of this challenge. There will be two one-hour training sessions on May 5 and May 19.
As the 5K National Championship for the US Association of Blind Athletes, there will be a purse of $7,800.00 to de divided by the first 5 men and first 5 women in the Visually Impaired Division. Prize money will also be awarded to guides who run with an athlete who places. In 2005 the men’s Visually Impaired Division Winner was also the overall winner. Francis Thuo of Kenya ran a time of 15:53. In fact the first 4 men were all in the Visually Impaired Division. The second place finisher hails from Mexico. This event attracts the best in the world, not just the country. The Women’s Division overall winner, Angelica Sanchez, is also from Mexico and ran a time of 16:54. The first in the Women’s Visually Impaired Division was 16 year- old Julie Chepkopus of Kenya, who ran 20:07.
Kurt Fiene and Mike Castle, the top Americans in the Visually Impaired Division in 2005, will be returning. In ‘05 Fiene ran a time of 17:11, and Castle ran 17:45. Castle will be traveling from France to participate in this championship.
Etonic will donate shoes for all age division winners. Twenty four pairs will be awarded!
The race is also special in that it brings together several non-profit groups. Steven M. Rothstein, President of the Perkins School for the Blind, says “A lot of times non-profits work alone, and sometimes even compete with each other. This (event) brings all of the Boston non-profits (that serve the blind) together for a common bond-building, team building, and financial (cause), and all of these groups do great work.” The organizations involved are the Carroll Center for the Blind, the Greater Boston Guild for the Blind, MAB Community Services, the National Braille Press, and the Perkins School for the Blind. Sponsors are important contributors to the success of the event. The presenting sponsors are Bank of America, and Bear Stearns. Many other local businesses are involved, and also involve customers.
So come on out on June 2 and have a terrific time! Show your support for, and solidarity with, visually impaired athletes. Be awed by the performances of the elite blind runners. They are a truly remarkable testament of what people can do, despite the extra hurdles they face. Come for the competition or come for the cause. Come for the fun! This is one race and celebration you’ll want to add to your early summer schedule. As Dave McGillivray puts it, “Boston is about to gain another outstanding sports event!”
For more information, and to register, go to the race’s website: www.Vision5K.org.