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Boston Marathon 2017: A Great Day For Team With A Vision Runners

2017 Boston Marathon Team

Team With A Vision’s Boston Marathon run this year was one for the history books – a day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kathrine Switzer’s first Boston Marathon run, a day of sweltering heat, and a day for Team With A Vision to break some records of their own.

Sagar Baheti became the first runner who is blind or visually impaired from India to complete the Boston Marathon.

Diagnosed in 2013 with Stargardt's disease, a type of macular degeneration that eventually leads to legal blindness, Baheti used his Boston Marathon run to help raise awareness of visual impairment in India.

"In a couple of years I'll lose complete central vision," he notes unemotionally, "and I might start needing more support with lesser mobility. I might then need the assistance of sighted guides more frequently. I'm not sure how quick or competitive I would be at that point, but that's not important. I just want to continue running,” Baheti told ESPN. Baheti finished with a time of 4:14:07.

Erich Manser became the first athlete who is blind or visually impaired to run with a virtual guide using Aira’s cutting-edge technology.

Although Manser has run 16 marathons previously, this was his first using the smartglass technology. Using special glasses, a live video feed of Manser’s immediate surroundings was sent to an employee of Aira, who in turn, relayed in-the-moment audio directions to Manser.

Manser, 44, suffers from a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which has gradually chipped away at his sight since he was diagnosed at age 5.

“We live in an exciting time where technology is moving so rapidly. It’s the best time to be blind,” Manser told BU News Service.

And, in both the men's and women's blind and visually impaired division, Team With A Vision athletes secured slots at the top of the leaderboard, taking second and third place in the men's division, and first and third in the women's division. [Full results here]

Matt Oliver came in 2nd with a time of 2:52:46, while Aaron Scheides 3rd place finish was right on Matt's heels with a time of 3:02:17.

Lisa Thompson, with a time of 3:51:10 placed 1st for women, with Jen Herring nabbing 3rd in 4:23:13.

More than 100 blind and visually impaired runners and their guides, as well as fundraising runners completed this year's Boston Marathon as part of Team With A Vision.

The team included nationally and world-ranked elite runners as well as first time marathoners who chose to raise money to support the mission of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired [MABVI].

“Each year we are honored to bring these incredible athletes together to compete in this historic race,” said Barbara Salisbury, CEO of MAB Community Services, of which MABVI is a division. “On one of sport’s biggest stages, these runners are proving the potential of people with disabilities everywhere.”

In addition to a strong competitive field, Team With A Vision also welcomed runners from throughout the United States, as well as Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

On top of running 26.2 miles on Monday, our fundraising runners also worked tirelessly to raise funds to support MABVI's statewide network of vision rehabilitation services, 35 low vision support groups, and 300 volunteers who are matched 1:1 with individuals who have sight loss.

Fundraising is ongoing. It’s not too late to donate.

View more photos on our Facebook page.

Team Press:
Wicked Local: Marshfield
ESPN India
Lowell Sun
BU News Service Fredericksburg.com
Times of India
Army Times
Boston Herald

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Brookline, MA 02446
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