Blind runner seeks a new training buddy

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014
Rob Matthews
TOP TEAM: Blind runner Rob Matthews, right, with former guide runner Matt Bailey. 

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Wanted - someone fleet of foot to guide a blind runner through the Boston or London Marathon in 2015.

Rob Matthews, 52, completed the London Marathon in April connected by a piece of rope to the wrist of a guide. 

He finished in three hours and 28 minutes and looks forward to doing even better next time.

But Matt Bailey, the guide he uses here for training, is heading overseas to live and his old running buddy needs a replacement.

Matthews was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition causing progressive vision loss, and was blind by the age of 20.

He and Bailey have been running together since 2010 and the end of their union has hit hard.

"We just got on," Matthews says. "We were good friends as well as anything else. We had a good understanding, our stride lengths were similar as well.

"He was pretty good at kind of pushing me around a bit."

Matthews is looking for multiple runners to train with on a daily basis.

Having more than one guide runner means less commitment for them, he says.

"The people I would need to run with would need to be quite good runners themselves. They would be runners in their own right, training for their own events and distances.

The sports massage therapist and motivational speaker has set 22 world records and won eight gold paralympic medals throughout his career as an athlete.

But completing the marathon this year was anything but easy, he says.

He went into the race with only two weeks of training under his belt because of a torn hamstring.

Guide runners would have to be able to run 10km in 45 minutes comfortably to keep up with Matthews. They would also have to be at least 1.75 metres (5ft 9) tall and willing to travel to Auckland's waterfront or Mt Eden to train.

Go to robmatthewsmbe.co.nz for more information. 

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- East And Bays Courier

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