Anyone can have a vision, even without eyesight.
That’s the message of Team With a Vision, which will run the Boston Marathon on Monday. The fundraising branch of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) unites blind and sighted runners from all over the world.
“I think popularly the perception may have existed that if someone had a disability, it depicted an image of someone who’s trapped within their limitation,’’ says Erich Manser, a legally blind athlete on Team With a Vision. “That’s just not the case.’’
Manser will run alongside 24 fellow visually impaired athletes registered on Team With a Vision this year, many of whom will be accompanied by sighted guides.
“As a sighted guide, you’re challenging your mind while you’re out there on the course,’’ says team coordinator and sighted guide, Andrea Croak. “What’s not challenging is having a great chat along the way, because it really warms our hearts to get out there and run with these folks.’’
While Croak and Manser have worked together in organizing training sessions for the team this year, Manser will reunite with his sighted guide from last year on race day, Peter Sagal, the host of NPR’s program “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.’’
“Peter had me laughing up and over Heartbreak Hill last year and I look forward to doing that again this year,’’ says Manser.
2015 will be Team With a Vision’s 22nd year taking on the Boston Marathon. All funds raised will support MABVI’s initiative to better the lives of individuals living with vision loss across Massachusetts.
“MABVI’s services extend far beyond just a marathon team, they do so much good for so many,’’ says Manser. “To be able to do something I love, stay fit, network with others in similar positions, and give back, is extremely gratifying at this point in my life.’’