A little over 4 years ago I decided on a career change. The idea – to study psychology and begin a career within the clinical realm. This was a great departure from my previous career in network management and was something I was greatly excited about.
Slightly earlier in the year I had silenced the thoughts of quitting climbing the half dome, by learning to run solo outdoors. This was in part thanks to RunKeeper as well as my ability to memorise the feeling underfoot.
So the week my son was born, I thought it a great idea to increase my training to the ultra distance as well as beginning college to start my new career. I managed to juggle training between feeds, work during Grayson sleeping and spending time with my son. I managed to juggle this to such success that I began competing at the ultra distance and left college with the read more
For first time guide runners the thought of guiding someone who cannot see can be scary. Essentially guide running is not difficult, you just have to do what you would normally do while running, be aware of your surroundings. The only difference is you have to account for being at least as wide as yourself and the person you are guiding.
This means any obstacles you would normally avoid, be it a post, tree branch, another runner, all need to be avoided, by taking into account your fellow runner. Of note, is that your fellow runner may be slightly taller than you, so watch out for branches that you may normally avoid!
The other key element is communication, note when you are going to move to avoid an obstacles, and highlight serious dips or raises in the running path. Kerbs and tree roots have to be avoided, this is something that read more
Back when I had useful vision, I adored collecting watches. In particular I had a penchant for unique faces and unique ways of displaying the time. My collection varied from flashing LED watches from Tokyo Flash to a Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute. So, when I lost my useful vision and had to begin to buy talking watches I was gutted. I had gone from fine crafted Breitling to a cheap £40 piece of plastic (arguably the Tokyo Flash watches were cheap, but at least they were interesting).
The talking watches would break continuously, I would often forget to remove it when bathing my son and it would break. After this had happened 3 times, I just decided to give up on having a wrist watch. I resorted to using my phone as my new timepiece, this had a number of drawbacks however. I would have to remove it from my pocket to tell the time. It was far read more
This year I will finally run my first marathon, in NYC. Before I even ran I had dreamed of running NYC, it is also one of the cities I visited while I still had sight, so it always feels special whenever I return. It is also tantalisingly close to Boston, the birthplace of RunKeeper – the running app that made running solo outdoors as a blind runner possible.
So I had an idea, why not run from Boston to NYC, then compete in the NYC marathon? And to make it even more special, why not connect with people on social media to help me along the way. That is the plan and I am reaching out to the internet to help make it happen!
The plan is to arrive in Boston around mid to late october and begin running an average of 30 miles a day, for 10-13 days (distance varies depending on final route chosen). I plan to break the run read more
Over the past few weeks, I have been playing around with Google Glass. It has been a wonderful experience, and I incredibly hopeful for the future opportunitIes that Glass can offer. As soon as I placed Glass on my face, I was reminded of the sensation of wearing glasses. The weight is similar to wearing a pair of prescription glasses. I quickly snapped a photo and was amazed with the simplicity of the hands free use.
Outdoors with Glass I had my first experience of navigation. I was able to issue a voice command and have the directions read aloud through the bone conduction ear piece. It was a nice hands off experience of navigating, while it is visually obvious I am wearing Glass, I felt this usage made me blend into the crowd. I didn’t have to remove a phone from my pocket and clumsily type a location or issue a voice command, I read more
Recently Braddan and I began a guide running project – guiderunning.UK. The simple goal is to raise awareness, point people towards guide running information and training and ultimately to connect as many visually impaired runners with guides as possible.
To promote the launch of guiderunning.uk we want to recruit a team of visually impaired runners and guides to compete in a 24-hour relay race. Don’t panic – this is definitely a sociable experience and not an all-out endurance competition. Pace and experience are certainly not an issue.
The race takes place in London over a 6-mile multi terrain route. It is not incredibly demanding. Trails are well maintained and relatively flat. More information about the even can be found at Spitfire Scramble
In true Spitfire spirit, guiderunning.uk needs YOU! – Just leave a comment below or contact me if read more
Last year I was invited into the technology innovation centre of a major airline. I was presented with a key issue for the airline and asked for input. I came up with a number of ideas which focussed around iterative technology changes or what I believed to be breakthrough technologies that could deliver innovative solutions.
My suggestions for iterative changes revolved around the customer experience of media while on the plane. I had suggested that this experience could be extended to the lounge area, through simple changes, be that loaning devices to passengers or delivered through a mobile app. This was an easy solution to implement and something that would grow the customer experience.
The major idea I delivered focussed on the terminal. Airport terminals are vastly large spaces which can often be difficult to navigate. I read more
A couple of years ago I lost the ability to see faces on a daily basis. This happened so gradually I hardly noticed it was happening at all. For with people I have known a long time, I would fill in what they look like. So it was more apparent when I met someone new.
I found whenever I met someone knew I was creating a mental picture of what they looked like. But what was I basing this picture on? As how can I imagine what a stranger, I have never seen looks like?
These questions were brought to the forefront when I was working with a fellow student at university. I had worked with them on and off for over 2 years, so I knew their voice well. I could easily pick it out from a crowd of voices. Due to the familiarity of the voice I had begun to assign a mental representation. But rather than specific features it was just a feeling. read more
After borrowing a GoPro camera from a friend and a suitable harness from another, I headed out today to film my classic running route. I was filming the route to add some additional content to an interview I gave a few weeks ago. It was an interesting run as it saw the return to running outside.
Since the birth of my second son I haven’t ran outside, this is mainly due to time constraints. In order to run outside my wife has to drop me off. With another child in the house this was proving difficult, so I had decided to conduct most of my running indoors. The result being a little over 7 months since I ran my traditional route. So there was a nagging question in my mind, could I still run the route? Had it changed? How many things would I run into? – The answers, yes, yes and none.
In order to demonstrate the first time I stepped read more
When I first entertained the thought of running at the ultra distance, I told myself I would only ever run on the road. There is one problem with this however, as not many ultras are run on the road – they are predominantly trail-based events. I avoided the idea of running on trails for as long as I could. But the longer you dream of ultras the idea of running trails comes to the forefront. I decided to bite the bullet and enter a trail race, the SDW50 – a 50 mile run across the South Downs Way.
So I could get used to running trails I decided to enter a half trail marathon – the Osmotherly half trail marathon. After speaking to the race director he assured me the trail could be easily run by a blind runner. Encouraged by this, I linked up with a guide runner from down south and we had arranged to run this race together. I have read more