Team With a Vision 5K on the Charles River–For Families, for Teams, for You
Let’s race 5K along the Charles. The Team With a Vision 5K (Sept 18) will make your third Saturday in September a lot more interesting, as well as tremendously rewarding. You’re going to run or walk anyway, so you should do it here—where it counts. And team competition, along with the new kids’ fun run, will add dimensions to the vision.
Posted Monday, 30 August, 2004
The Team With a Vision 5K defines challenge and volunteerism. The Team With a Vision 5K exemplifies the best in community spirit. Athletes of all levels will be running competitively and for fitness while experiencing a community uniting for a cause. Community, of course, is what running is all about. The Team With a Vision 5K is the New England Championship for Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes, and is also one race that is for the entire community.
All Runners have passion for the sport. Most are active ambassadors for their sport. They love to provide encouragement for beginners so everyone can reap the physical and emotional benefits that running brings. All seek their own rewards, including blind and visually impaired athletes. Some races demonstrate that passion and commitment especially well, and this is one of those races.
Speaking of commitment, Fleet Bank is the Gold sponsor for this event for the third consecutive year. Fleet not only provides vital financial support, but also has a dedicated core of employees who volunteer and fill key roles in making this event the high quality road race it has become.
Growth of a Classic
This will be the fourth annual Team with a Vision 5K, a race that has grown dramatically in its brief history. Race Director Joe Quintanilla, extremely pleased with the turnout of over 700 last year, has set the bar for 2004 to exceed 1,000 participants. The TWAV 5K is fast becoming a must-do event, a classic on the Charles River. This is the Running Capital of the World, after all--location, location, location. The course is USATF certified, and lies within scintillating Boston, Brighton, and Cambridge. And this run, Saturday, September 18, at 10:00 a.m. should be a fixture on every runner's calendar.
New England Championship
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 the Blind and Visually Impaired. Soon it will make a bid to be the national championship, perhaps on a rotating basis. This race is one of only two in the country to offer cash prizes for this division.
The Visually Impaired division winners will earn cash prizes totaling $2,500, five deep for women and men. These prizes are made possible by the generous sponsorship of Anna’s Taqueria. This will help attract elite visually impaired runners from around the country, and raise awareness regarding their athletic capabilities. The organizers hope the inclusion of these gifted athletes will encourage other visually impaired runners to register and become active competitors.
Among the favorites will be Ken Bair of Ohio, who set the American 5K record for visually impaired runners last year, and has been runner-up in this race. Barbara Lischinsky of nearby Newton will be one of the favorites for the women’s championship. The first woman and man overall will be awarded Saucony running shoes.
Lischinsky and Bair and the other elite visually impaired runners continue to inspire many others to walk and run. They are also a source of hope for many with other impairments. High profile athletes such as Olympian Marla Runyon raise both the public awareness level and also the expectations of other visually impaired athletes.
Family Outing and Team Competition
Teams are encouraged this year, adding considerably to the competitiveness and the enjoyment of the race. But this race is for everyone—every runner and walker can be part of the Team With a Vision. Families are especially welcome, and a kid’s fun run will follow the big race at 11:10 a.m. Kids who participate to receive a medal and a T-shirt. And the 5K course is especially friendly for beginning runners and walkers. All participants will receive discount coupons for Marathon Sports.
Everyone will enjoy great food, and unique experiences before, during, and after the race. There will be terrific awards, including awards for fundraisers. Racing awards will be given to the top three in each division, as well as the first three teams. Participants will enjoy great post race food, including the famous and complimentary Legal Sea Foods chowder. Additionally, there will be fruit and fruit juice, bagels, burgers, hot dogs chips, soft drinks and water. Live music will fill the air, as Dirty Blonde will enliven the festivities. This is an outing, as well as a race.
Guide Runners are All Winners
Guide runners are needed. Developing bonds of friendship and the sharing of a meaningful experience are powerful motivators. This is a unique opportunity to support those who share the passion for running and the sport of road racing and fitness walking. Making it possible for another person to run is tremendously rewarding, and guide runners have that capability. This is one of the best ways possible to give back to the sport—a sport that is built on community and volunteerism.
As with runners generally, blind and visually impaired athletes run broadly differing paces, and therefore need guide runners of like abilities. Anyone can do it. Some pre-race coaching by other guide runners or experienced visually impaired runners, and a warm-up practice run will easily get the two in synch.
“Guide running is one of the ultimate forms of volunteerism, as the guide is giving of both their time and talent,” says Jim Vargo, the Head Track and Field Coach for the US Association of Blind Athletes. “The personal satisfaction of knowing you have helped another meet a goal that they could not have otherwise attained is a reward that money cannot buy!” he said.
Guide runners and blind athletes run in tandem, in unison with a tether between them. The tether can be on the wrists or held in the hand and of any strong material. Some run with waist tethers. In any case, they allow freedom of movement for both runners, while keeping them close to each other.
The guide runner is both play-by-play announcer and coach, informing the visually impaired runner of other people, surface, terrain, turns, obstructions, markers, splits, etc. The guide runner should be capable of a faster pace than the blind athlete, allowing for conversation and for focusing on the needs of the blind athlete.
Guide runners bring their passion for the sport to those who want to share that passion and the benefits of the running. Guide runners of all paces and abilities are badly needed. They can share in the elation and feelings of accomplishment inherent to racing well and finishing strong. It is a unique experience only runners share.
What a Team
Lisa Hughes, News Anchor for WBZ-TV Channel 4 is the Honorary Chair of the Team with a Vision for the third consecutive year, running the last two of those races as a guide runner.
The concept of “Team” includes all participants in this wonderful running experience along the Charles River. It includes the many volunteers, who give so much to make the event a success,
The Team includes the Elite Eight of sponsors—check out their Website links. They are, the Carroll Center for the Blind, MAB Community Services (formerly the Massachusetts Association for the Blind), the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the National Braille Press, New England Eye Institute, Perkins School for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. These organizations are the Team With a Vision.
This race, in only its first three years, has raised over $225,000 in support of these critically important organizations. They provide research, technology, literacy and support services that enhance the quality of life for thousands of visually impaired individuals. Vision loss is universal, and can happen to anyone.
Proceeds go to these Elite Eight organizations that provide so many critical support services for the visually impaired. They are dedicated to improving literacy, mobility, independence, and quality of life generally for visually impaired individuals and their families.
This race attracts a dedicated and enthusiastic group of volunteers, both course workers and guide runners, who are all integral to the Team. That Team also includes you, and the donors who sponsor you, and other runners and walkers through pledges. The Vision’s finish line goal is substantial support for these tremendously important organizations, making it possible for visually impaired individuals and families to receive these vitally important services.
Be a Part of It
The Team with a Vision 5K is a flat, scenic, fast course, running for an exceptionally good cause. You are going to run that day anyway. This course runs along and across the famous Charles River in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Whether seeking a personal best, or simply focusing on a fitness walk along the Charles Basin, this race is for you.
Runners come from all over the world to run in Boston, especially these loops along the Charles. Yes, this race provides one of the flattest, fastest 5K’s anywhere. The TWAV 5K will appeal to all runners and walkers—beginners to elite, sighted and visually impaired, competitive teams, and kids. This is a race that must be experienced. Share the vision, and share the passion.