'I stood at the edge of the athletics track and heard the patter of feet stream past me. 8 sprinters training, as they do four times a week. Both my sisters were part of the training group and me, their older, blind sister, wanted to be part of that running world as well. Tears in my eyes, I didn’t know how to get a foot in the door or whether it was completely unrealistic for me to even be thinking about it.'
Agata tells her story
I come from an active family and I’ve done different types of exercise throughout my life but running was never one of them despite always dreaming of having the freedom I imagined running would bring.
This changed for me when the Disability Sports Officer at my university told me about the Find a Guide database put together by England Athletics and British Blind Sport. Suddenly a whole new set of opportunities opened themselves up to me. I typed in my postcode, saw there were quite a few guide runners in my area, and my journey began.
Building up the distance with the help of five Guide Runners
It’s not been easy building up the distance and speed. For the first three months I couldn’t imagine how I’d ever get to run 5k. But six months later I’d done that and run my first ‘proper’ race - a 10k. And six months after that I completed my first half marathon. I’m now training for my first full marathon, have joined a running club and have five regular guide runners.
What has running given me?
Running has given me so much. Freedom to explore the city I live in, joy in moving my body in a new way, meeting incredible people through the athletics club and guide running. It’s not until you step out, beyond what you know and into something new - a new distance, type of event, challenge - that you understand what your real capabilities are, where your limits lie and how far people will go to support you.
Each time I’ve come up against limits since starting running, my guide runner and I have pushed them and they’ve moved further and further away. I don’t know where my limit is but I’ll keep pushing until I find it.