With RNIB Double Dash 5K fast approaching, we want to tell you more about the inspiration behind the race and give you a few of our top tips for running tethered.
Coming up with the idea of Double Dash, we wanted to be different. Not just any old fun run, but a race with a difference. Being blind or partially sighted means that running safely can be a real challenge; avoiding obstacles, staying on running routes and making sure you stay safe, are all things that are very tricky when you have limited vision. Some blind and partially sighted athletes get around these barriers by partnering up with a guide. That’s what gave us the inspiration of partnering up our runners.
Don’t underestimate the power of practice – running tethered to someone else is a bit of a weird experience if you haven’t done it before. The big day will run a lot smoother if you and your buddy have practiced. You don’t need to wait for your official Double Dash tether to arrive before you give it a go. You can use an old tie or a bit of washing line.
Whether you’re racing or training, it’s really important to be honest with the person you’re tethered to. If you’re struggling to keep up with your running buddy, tell them how you’re feeling. We want everyone to enjoy the experience. Usually your partner is also finding the run or pace a bit difficult but are just too embarrassed to say.
For most of our Double Dashers, this will be the first time they’ve been in a race tethered to another runner, so take it easy to start with. It’ll take a few minutes to get used to the feeling and build your confidence. Try to avoid charging off and leaving your buddy dragging behind you.
Whether you are both fully sighted, or if you’re running as a guide for a blind or partially sighted runner, it’s important to make sure you keep talking to each other. Apart from keeping each other motivated, you can also avoid the obstacles together.
If you’re not sure if there’s enough space for the two of you to run past an obstacle, it’s better to slow down and walk past it rather than risk injury. Also, prepare for the unexpected; another runner pulling up short in front of you, or overtaking then slowing down in front of you. After all, you don’t want to find yourselves getting tied up in knots!
Remember, you’re not running as two individuals, you’re running as a team. You need to support and trust eachother. When your legs start to turn to jelly, and you’re trying to push yourself to the finish line, it’s your teammate who will help keep you going.