Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Video to Provide Guide Runner Basics

U.S. Paralympics, in conjunction with U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, has created the video resource Basics of Guide Running for Track & Field and Trail.

This is a user-friendly video for runners interested in becoming guides for visually-impaired athletes. The video’s focus includes how to guide a visually-impaired athlete in the long and triple jumps, sprinting events and trail running. The instructors (Jerome Avery, Wesley Williams and Donald Cooper) are guide runners for U.S. Paralympic medalists, both current and retired, and provide concise and insightful tips for guide runners. Paralympic medalists featured in the video are Elexis Gillette and Josiah Jamison (silver and gold medalists, respectively, 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games) and Tim Willis (winner of five Paralympic medals).

To view the video on-line, click here.

To request a copy of the Basics of Guide Running for Track & Field and Trail or to find out more information about where and how to compete for U.S. Paralympics, please email : or visit:

For more information about sports programs for visually impaired athletes, visit the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes website:

Creating An Inexpensive Running Track

Many years ago, a co-worker took a vacation trip to Hawaii. When she returned she had lots of stories to tell about her experiences and observations. One of these stories concerned a home-made "exercise track" used by a blind fellow on one of the beaches.

A friend guided the man to the beach, drove a pole deep into the sand, dropped a ring attached to a rope over the pole and left. The blind fellow took the far end of the rope in his hand and walked out to its full length--about 20 feet. He walked once around the circumference of this circle to make certain his path was clear. (He used the sound of the ocean as a marker to tell him when he had gone once around the circle. Then, he ran full speed around and around the circle. After a number of rounds, he reversed his direction, taking the rope in his other hand and running counterclockwise instead of his original clockwise direction. He continued this pattern of operation throughout his time on the beach.

My friend watched and, after about an hour of vigorous running, he slowed down, stopped, did a few "cool down" exercises and blew a police whistle. In a few minutes, the fellow who had guided him to the beach came. They coiled the rope, took up the pole and left.

Since full and free running opportunities are not easy for a blind person to find, this might be one way of helping some individuals under the right circumstances. An echo from a nearby house instead of the ocean might serve as a place marker. Rope length might vary depending on availability of space, etc.

Walk/Run for Fitness Kit

APH's Walk/Run for Fitness Kit includes:

  • A personal guidewire system
  • Two talking pedometers
  • A guidebook in both large print and braille
  • Shoulder sling carrying pack

The guidebook explains the five major components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body mass index. The personal guidewire system can be set up in your backyard, a school, or a park. The two pedometers encourage family and peer participation. If running or walking with a human guide, you can use the kit's adjustable tether, which is long enough to accommodate wheelchair users. The kit includes a convenient shoulder sling pack for storage and travel.

Complete Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-07520-00

Replacement Guidebooks:

Print Edition:
Catalog Number: 7-07520-00

Braille Edition:
Catalog Number: 5-07520-00
Click this link to purchase APH's Walk/Run for Fitness Kit.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
APH Shopping Home:

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