Team with a Vision 5K is Flat, Fast, Distinctively Boston
The Team with a Vision 5K is a distinctively fast course, running for an exceptionally good cause. It runs along and across the famous Charles River in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. 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 experience appeals to all runners and walkers-beginners to elite, sighted and visually impaired. This is one terrific race.
Posted Thursday, 21 August, 2003
The Team with a Vision 5K runs for the third time on September 13, and in its short history it has grown by leaps and bounds. The field doubled in the second year, and will more than double this year to well over 1,000 participants. And the excitement is already building because of the location, the course, and the impressive list of sponsors. This great "team" of sponsors--promise great rewards, good food, and unique experiences before, during, and after the race-even cash prizes for the top visually impaired runners. They are your team.
A run along the Charles River is quintessential Boston. It could be argued that there are more runners along the Charles than in any comparable area on earth. And with good reason-the Charles basin is picturesque, inviting, historic, and lightening flat and fast. Only the slight rises on approaches to the Eliot Bridge and the Arsenal Bridge deviate from the pancake-flat course. Those two bridges, included in the clockwise 5K loop, are the eighth and ninth of the famous Charles River crossings above the Charles River Dam and locks and the Science Park.
A run along the Charles River is quintessential Boston. It could be argued that there are more runners along the Charles than in any comparable area on earth.
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. This race is one of only three in the country to offer cash prizes for this division, going five deep for women and men. This will attract elite visually impaired runners, and raise awareness regarding their athletic capabilities. This in turn will encourage other visually impaired athletes to register and become active competitors.
But this race is for everyone-every runner is part of the TEAM. Runners of all backgrounds and abilities-and many walkers too-will be speeding along the streets and paths of the Brighton section of Boston and Cambridge, home of Harvard and MIT. Proceeds go to all of the essential organizations, the TEAM, which provides research and technology, and 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.
Boston, Tradition and Flavor
Boston is a city of distinctive traditions and roots, and includes a running heritage. From the traditions of the Boston Marathon to the delicately flavorful Legal Sea Foods Chowder served at the finish of this race, running and racing in Boston is special. Everything is cool about this race, including the address of the starting location, Artesani Park-it is 1234 Soldiers Field Road.
The course includes many unique sites, including the Cambridge Boat House, historic Harvard Stadium, and the famous Harvard Graduate School of Business. For the kids, the William E. Smith Playground is just across Soldiers Field Road for before and after the event.
Speaking of before and after the race, visitors should take advantage of many of Boston's unique experiences. They can enjoy the smell of pasta creations in the Italian North End, for example. Also in the North End, the scent of Colonial history still resides within the Old North Church and the home of Paul Revere. You can almost hear Samuel Adams speaking in Fanueil Hall. How about checking out the rigging on the USS Constitution, Old Ironsides, and the sea air. Enjoy the myriad of flowers in the Boston Public Garden, or the scintillating variety of tastes and aromas at the Quincy Marketplace?
Joe Quintanilla is the Race Director for the Team with a Vision 5K, and he is using innovation and teamwork to create one of the best racing experiences for all runners. He knows as much as anyone that running is one sport that is open and available to the visually impaired. He is legally blind, and a very accomplished long distance runner, a 3:11 marathoner in fact. He is dedicated to inviting and encouraging elite runners, as well as runners of all levels, to participate. He knows that elite runners encourage and attract accomplished and beginner runners alike. This is especially true of visually impaired runners. He and his team want visually impaired athletes to experience competitive racing, and to reap the health and lifestyle benefits inherent for running athletes.
The idea is catching on. The United States Association of Blind Athletes will host the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 25 to 29, and track and field will be a large part of it. The International Blind Sports Federation, www.ibsa.es, meanwhile is preparing for the IBSA World Championships in Quebec City August 1 to 12. Qualifying standards for these games are very high indeed. Events such as this Team with a Vision 5K are a training ground for athletes who will one day perform at this elite level.
The 2002 Run
Both 2002 overall winners of the TWAV 5K were elite visually impaired athletes. Pamela McGonigle of Ardmore, Pennsylvania won the women's race outright and was tenth overall. McGonigle holds 12 national records on the road and on the track. She has very limited vision, and runs with a guide runner. She represented the USA in France last year at the Paralympic World Championships winning two silver medals.
Henry Wanyioke, who is from Nairobi, Kenya won the men's contest in 16:12. He is also a marathon man and represented the Massachusetts Association for the Blind in the 2003 Boston Marathon. He ran the 107th Boston in 2:49:03, was the Visually Impaired Champion, and was 187th overall in a field of 20,000.
The first three overall and five of the top 10 in the 2002 event were visually impaired. Ohioan Kenneth Bair zipped to second, and Michael Castle of Michigan rolled to third. Castle has ten Boston Marathons to his credit and a total of 25. He is one of the best visually impaired long distance men in the country. As such, he has inspired many others to become running athletes. He 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 Marla Runyon raise both the public awareness level and also the expectations of other visually impaired athletes.
The concept of "Team" has expanded. It 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, including guide runners who share in the elation and accomplishment. Lisa Hughes, News Anchor for WBZ-TV Channel 4 is the Chair of the Team with a Vision, and she will run as a guide for the second time.
The Team includes a terrific lineup of sponsors you will notice on the Website. The Team also includes donors who sponsor runners through pledges in order to support these tremendously important organizations. And the Team includes the organizations themselves-the dedicated folks at The Massachusetts Association for the Blind, the Carroll Center for the Blind, The Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Greater Boston Aid to the Blind, the National Braille Press, New England Eye Institute, Perkins School for the Blind, and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
Sign Up Now
The link below allows you to sign up online, and the cost is only $15, thanks once again to the listed sponsors. An innovative idea allows those in Boston to sign up the week before the race at several Fleet Bank locations, including the Fresh Pond Branch, Saturday, September 6th (9-1 p.m.) and the day before the race, Friday, September 12 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The Harvard Square Branch will hold registration the same days but with expanded hours-September 6th (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and September 12 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
But don't wait! The first 500 will receive T-shirts, and the first 200 get an extra bonus, a Fleet hat.
But the real bonus is in your participation. The 10 a.m. start will be electrifyingly exciting. When the runners head across Arsenal Bridge to the Cambridge side and along the river to the Eliot Bridge the Boston skyline will be in the background. Hundreds of athletes of all abilities will want to be a part of this new Boston tradition-a part of the TEAM.