Monday, August 15, 2005

Blind trail runner seeking guide for Bizz-Johnson

Quick note for anyone planning to run the Bizz-Johnson Marathon in Susanville, CA, on October 8th. Sharlene Wills, a blind trail runner, is looking for a guide. No experience required! See the letter from Sharlene below.

"Hi, Bizz Johnson Marathoners,

If any of you did this beautiful race last year, you may have blown by me on your way to the finish. I am a blind runner/walker, and I'm looking for one or two guides for this year's race. I hope to finish in around six to six-and-a-half hours (and maybe just a little better, if I can get my altitude training in). I would be walking quite a bit, but I can run on the fire road, as well, especially the downhill portions.

I am an experienced marathoner and have done several ultras, as well. Guiding on this course would not require much more than helping me at the aid stations in getting snacks and/or drinks and occasionally telling me about rough road or turns that come up. You would be linked to me via a small rope with carbiners at either end for us to hold. I prefer to have the guide on my left. I do like to chat, especially on a course with so much beauty. There is only one very small stretch of the course (at least it was there last year) that would require a little more verbal navigation: namely, a point, pretty late in the race, where a bridge has been
washed out, and the course is diverted. Even this small stretch, however, is not very technical and, if taken slowly, should not present a potential guide
with much difficulty.

If anyone is interested and/or willing to help me out, I would be very, very appreciative. You can email me directly at tenagra [at] Please don't hesitate to ask any question, no matter how "silly" or "uninformed" it might appear to be to you. I am not sensitive about being totally blind and will do my best to assuage any fears or hesitancy you might have.
My only emphatic point is that I am no longer very fast (I once could run a sub-five-hour marathon quite consistently, but not now. So, if you volunteer, you'll need to reckon on being out there for six-plus hours with a 56-year-old woman. I always hope to be faster, but there is no guarantee. I have recently completed the San Francisco Marathon in just over 6.5 hours, and that is a fairly hilly road race.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give. Good luck to everyone, and enjoy this most spectacular event.

Sharlene Wills"

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