Low Vision professional distance runner

Low Vision professional distance runner

Posted on Sep.07, 2010, by , under Inspirational Stories

Marla Runyan is an American woman who has made a name for herself as a successful professional distance runner in a variety of national track events, the Paralympics, marathons, and the Olympics.

At the age of nine, Marla was diagnosed with Stargardts disease, a juvenile form of macular degeneration. She became legally blind and now relies on various low vision aids for reading and tasks that require detail vision. Marla’s central vision is compromised, but she relies on peripheral vision when running and claims she has never had a collision that was due to her limited sight.

Marla Runyan Low Vision Professional Distance Runner

Marla gained international fame as the first legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympics in 2000. She finished in eighth place in the 1500 meter event that year and then represented the US again at the 2004 Olympics.

Marla is originally from Eugene, OR and has been involved in athletics since she was a child. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education and a Master’s degree in Education of Deaf-Blind Children. Her husband, Matt Lonergan, is also her coach. The couple has a daughter named Anna Lee, and Marla won the Minneapolis marathon just 13 months after Anna Lee was born. In 2001 she wrote an autobiography entitled No Finish Line.

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