Can you imagine being legally blind and running fast? Well, Maree Carson does this. The 32-year-old Wellington travel agent refuses to let her disability stop her from running.

Maree’s next event is Cigna Round the Bays on 19 February, 2017. Her goal is to step up her speed so she can beat her time of 1hr 46mins from the same event earlier this year.

“I’m quite competitive and so I’m looking forward to doing it again and trying to do it better,” she says.

To achieve her goal she will join the Wellington Harrier Athletic Club to help with her training. Maree also runs with Achilles New Zealand, who support her by teaming her up with a guide to help her along new and unknown courses.

Next year’s event will be Maree’s fifth half-marathon following her completion of the New York Marathon last month with the help of Achilles guide Josh Thomas, from Wellington. He will also volunteer at Cigna Round the Bays, an event he is a big fan of.

20161205-maree-image-563284_242219677_xlarge

“It’s an easy and flat course, the water views are beautiful and there are good vibes,” he says.

Maree loves the event too and has always run. “I love it. I feel quite free and it gives me a clear head. It makes me feel better. It makes me so happy,” she says.

20161205-maree-image

Maree started losing her sight aged 16 through a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa. She has less than 5 percent vision including no depth of vision or peripheral vision. She cannot see in the dark, in shadows, and sometimes “floaters” affect her central vision.

Her commitment to running is an incredible inspiration.

Achilles NZ is the official charity partner of Cigna Round the Bays. Want to help? If you would like to guide an athlete, or have a disability and would like help to take part in Cigna Round the Bays, contact Achilles at achillesnewzealand.org. Or fundraise for this worthy cause. You can set up a fundraising page as part of your registration.

 

Register for Cigna Round the Bays at cignaroundthebays.co.nz and remember to join #STEPITUPNZ to be in to win a family escape to Hawke’s Bay prize valued up to $2,500.

Rachel is a runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of lifestyle website InspiredHealth.co.nz, and follow more of her personal journey to get race-ready with her family on her Facebook & Instagram pages