Blind New York Marathon Man 2.11.2017

Blind New York Marathon Man 2.11.2017

R U JOKING, GRANDAD BLOG 2nd November 2017

 

A blind ultramarathon runner will compete solo in the New York Marathon without a guide and will instead be wholly reliant on technology.

 

Simon Wheatcroft, 35, from Doncaster, will be using a navigation device that he has helped develop in collaboration with tech designers in the US.

 

The British athlete – who lost his sight from a degenerative eye disease in his teens – has spent the last seven years experimenting with technology to enable him and other visually impaired people to navigate independently.

 

The Wayband device guides people to a destination using vibration rather than audio alerts, and will enable Mr Wheatcroft to avoid the 50,000 other runners in his path in NYC on November 5.

 

This will not be his first NYC marathon – but previously he has relied on “buddy” runners and a basic smartphone navigation app.

 

Mr Wheatcroft said: “This will be my third New York marathon, but undoubtedly my greatest challenge and most significant run to date.

 

“Technology has enabled me to strive for the impossible. I want to continue using it to push the boundaries of what I am capable of achieving – and to ensure technologies exist that can assist everybody, whether they’re running a marathon or simply walking through their home town.

 

“It is through technology we can gain more independence – it is a great leveller.”

 

Due to New York’s famous skyscrapers, Mr Wheatcroft expects GPS to drop out on his device, but has taken this into account in his training.

 

He said the goal is for blind people to use the device in their everyday lives walking on the streets, and not just remain something used by an athlete in a sporting event.

 

Simon Wheatcroft

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

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