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Imagine you are running a track race but instead of seeing your competitors and the clock you can only see blurred colors. You only know who you are racing based on their sponsor kit blur and the colors of the ponytails. When you cross the finish line you don’t know what place you came in or how many people you passed on the final straightaway. This is what racing was like for U.S. Olympian Marla Runyan.
On this episode of ‘More than Running with Dana Giordano’: We dive into Marla’s athletic story and her current work to champion for the rights of Para athletes. After losing her vision in elementary school, Marla found freedom in running. Through an unusual path, Marla was successful in many athletic disciplines including high jump, heptathlon, middle distance events and even the marathon.
Marla became the first woman to compete in both the Paralympics and Olympic Games. Her story is one of persistence and refusal to let her vision loss define her as a competitor. Marla is currently the Para Athlete manager at the Boston Athletic Association and recently created several new competitive Para Athlete divisions for future Boston Marathons.