Two of Ireland’s most prominent sports bodies Vision Sports Ireland (VSI) and Park Run are urging people with sight loss to get involved in sports activities, particularly running.
Speaking at a presentation of 100 Sighted Guide Identity Bibs, Joe Geraghty, National Development Officer, VSI said; “Vision Sports and Parkrun are two vibrant national sports bodies whose goal is to promote health and wellbeing through sport. Parkrun welcome walkers and runners with vision impairment to their weekly Saturday runs nationwide. Vision Sports Ireland are delighted to present Parkrun Ireland with guide identity bibs. The bibs can be worn by volunteer guides to help other participants’ awareness as they run, behind, alongside or pass out a vision impaired walker or runner.”
Jason Smyth, known as the ‘fastest Paralympian on the planet’, a Board member at VSI said, “This is a fantastic initiative, it is vital to build awareness around sporting participation for visually impaired people. I have always loved sport and I am passionate about getting other people with sight loss involved. It has a whole host of benefits from physical health to mental health to emotional health”. “Also you learn discipline, you make sacrifices, you gain confidence; all attributes that serve people well in life in general.”
Joe Geraghty praised Parkrun for its cooperation with VSI. “As an Optometrist Joan Ryan has a keen interest in sight loss. Last September Joan watched VSI on RTE’s Celebrity Operation Transformation. Seeds sown, Joan, an enthusiastic parkrunner, promoted improved participation among people who are blind and vision impaired. Soon she became the Republic of Ireland Visually Impaired Ambassador for Parkrun Ireland. We are so lucky to have Joan as our parkrun leader.”
To get involved check out www.parkrun.com and a Facebook group called ‘Parkrun Ireland, for Parkrunners and walkers with Vision Impairment.’