Pride for guide runner Simon Elliott helping others to succeed
Guide Runner Simon Elliott gets satisfaction from leading the way
For Simon Elliott, there is nothing more rewarding than guiding his runner to the finish line of a marathon and the successful completion of a long-cherished goal. This assistance extended to offering his treadmill to a visually impaired runner during the coronavirus lockdown.
The 53-year-old from West Haddon, Northamptonshire is married with two teenage boys and a member of Rugby Runners. He took his first steps into guide running after being volunteered by his wife and never looked back, becoming part of a close knit community.
Simon has helped blind and partially sighted runners complete distances ranging from 5k to marathon and then on to an off-road ultra. He adapts to each individual runner’s needs, pointing out obstacles and other aspects of the route whilst maintaining a pace they are comfortable with. He emphasises: “Communication differs for each runner and it is important to understand what they can and can’t see.”
He has helped visually impaired runner Agata Cienciala to four marathon finishes including Miami where her delight at nearing the line was clear to see. The Agata/Simon team have also completed the cross country Shire and Spires 35 mile Ultra.
Simon's involvement doesn’t end with assistance during training and racing, he has supported other runners training to be guides; lent his treadmill to Agata so she could continue to train at home and organised Zoom video calls to keep visually impaired runners motivated during the lockdown. He has also acted as a virtual guide, describing a route to a runner as they complete their session on a treadmill.
Simon Elliott is passionate about guide running and promotes it as part of a drive to expand sports participation saying: “It is something that gives you a warm glow, seeing people overcome disabilities to do fantastic things.”
He also encourages others to try it: “If there is the opportunity to become a guide then do so.”
Image courtesy: Simon Elliott