Sunday, January 13, 2008

Сhevron Marathon

Steve Gokey is exceptional among the 17,000 runners up to take the starting motion Sunday in the Chevron Houston Marathon.

He's the only unsighted human in the 26.2-mile happening.

"I love running, I love sports," says Gokey, 55, who works as a switchboard operative for the Modesto, Calif., constabulary section. "It's exercise but very competitive for me."

He's run nearly two dozen , including four in Boston and just last month in Sacramento since his first lengthy not quite 11 years ago in Napa, Calif. Sunday will mark his first manifestation in the Houston occurrence.

"I will sit home Sunday night and I'll mull over about it," Gokey said. "It never gets old. Finishing and the idea of finishing and my souvenir and wearing my honor for a week, it never gets old."

Gokey was born sightless, building his infirmity different from those who had sight and lost it later in life, he said.

"I've been auspicious," he said. "It's not a big deal. It's an aggravation at times but I've adjusted satisfactorily well with it. I don't have any fear with it."

He at home on a treadmill.

"There are days I don't like to chain," he said. "It does take a firm amount of mastery."

In a grueling, a team of four lead him around the course, each compelling a piece of the race. He's linked to his guide by two 5-foot-long PVC piping, the kind used in plumbing.

"They hold on one end and I hold on the more," he said. "The pipe balances me. It feels like the grindstone. It's probably psychological but it works out."

His guide may tell him his location on the course, or if there's a turn coming or a change in the superficial like a railroad pathway crossing. Frequent for him are reflectors flagged to the roadway that mark dealings lanes.

"Those effects in the medium of the road, my feet are like magnets. They find them," he laughed.

"My difficult is I get so expended with wanting to run well and at times if I'm not running well it gets in my head and then I initiation pressing. And you can't press."

His best time is just over four .

While statistics on how many of the 1.3 mountain validly unseeing Americans run marathons aren't kept, Mark Lucas, executive director of the United States Association of Blind Athletes, made an "educated guess" that it's less than 100. He said, then again, that running is a widely held bustle for the blind.

The association has helped sequence eyeless athletes for more than 30 years and for them to be allowed to compete with population who can see. The Paralympics world record in the epic for the session of participant who, like Gokey, is completely visionless and is allowed to use up to four guides is 3:03:48, set in 1988 by Rick Holborow of New Jersey.

"As a veteran of 21 , I know firsthand how incredibly hard it is to procession for, and complete just one long-drawn-out, in ideal health," Steven Karpas, director of promotion and race stage for the Houston long-winded, said. "Having to run 26.2 miles as a sightless figure indeed my mind.

"I have huge deference and awe for Mr. Gokey."

Gokey said spectators and runners often tell him the same.

"I cogitate it's far-fetched," Connie Almeida, one of his guides, said while education with Gokey a few days before the incident. "I ruminate he's an brainstorm to anybody, that you can get out there and do whatever."

His four-limb guide team is affiliated with The Lighthouse of Houston, which for nearly 70 years has worked to help visually weakened people lead impartial .

One danger in the often close lodgings of a difficult is innocently getting in their way. Gokey stepping on a woman's foot a twosome of times in the Sacramento marathon a few years ago.

"She didn't even look back, but just said: 'You blind or a little?'"

He replied: "'You know what? As a theme of fact....'

"My guide said it was impressive. When she finally looked back, she had that look like she just had stepped in a bit. Then she ran away."

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