I’m writing from Peru, where I’m helping my friend Dan Berlin try to make history… again. On Wednesday (Oct 14), my friends Brad Graff, Alison Qualter Berna and I will guide Dan as he attempts to become the first blind runner to ascend the Inca Trail nonstop to the historic site of Machu Picchu. You may remember that we helped guide Dan last year across the Grand Canyon “rim to rim to rim” nonstop, something never before done by a blind runner.
This high elevation mountain trek to Machu Picchu normally takes four days and climbs over three mountain passes that reach as high as 14,000 feet. We’ll try to complete it in one day. In our planning meeting yesterday, the Peruvian guide who has completed the trek 215 times told us:
“What you are planning to do is not impossible but the local authorities think it’s crazy for anyone to try, let alone with a blind person.”
We’re sponsored by Intrepid Travel, Altra Running, Smartwool and UNICEF, and raising money for the Blind Institute of Technology, which helps companies integrate vision-impaired employees into the workforce. We’re working with UNICEF to encourage children with disabilities to participate in sports. This Saturday, we will meet with blind students at a school in Lima, Peru. Dan, who decided to become an endurance athlete after going blind in his 30s, offers a reminder that each one of us can overcome even the greatest of obstacles. I hope, as the students hear Dan’s story, they will be inspired to come up with and dive fearlessly into their own adventures and, like Dan, see blindness as an inconvenience to be overcome rather than a disability that prevents them from living life to the fullest.
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