Thomas Panek running NYC half marathon Banner overlay

Blind runner becomes first to complete NYC Half Marathon led by labradors rather than guide runner

Guiding Eyes for the Blind president, Thomas Panek, finished the race with assistance from guide dogs, Waffle, Westley and Gus

18 Mar 2019 by Selina Powell

Guiding Eyes for the Blind president, Thomas Panek, has become the first person to complete the New York City Half Marathon with the assistance of guide dogs rather than a guide runner.

Mr Panek was partnered with a relay team of three labrador retrievers Waffle, Westley and Gus. The guide dogs were trained through the Running Guides Programme.  

The programme means that blind and visually impaired runners to not have to be reliant on human guides or restricted to a treadmill.

During the New York City Half Marathon, veterinarians and volunteers were stationed along the course to provide check-ups and support to the team of runners.

Mr Panek completed the race in a time of two hours and 20 minutes.

Image credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Guiding Eyes For The Blind

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