Blind man finishes half marathon with guide dogs | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Image: Guiding Eyes for the Blind

A blind man has become the first runner to finish a New York City half marathon with assistance from guide dogs last March 17.

dog, marathon
Image: Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Thomas Panek completed the United Airlines Half Marathon in two hours and 20 minutes, according to the New York Road Runners.

Labrador Retrievers Waffle, Westley and Gus, who each ran up to five miles (about eight kilometers) helped Panek to the finish line, Guiding Eyes for the Blind said.

Panek is the president and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that breeds, raises and trains guide dogs for free.

Panek had previously relied on human guides to help him in races. He ran the half marathon with the dogs to raise funds that will provide blind athletes with running service dogs.

The dogs underwent months of marathon training prior to the race, the organization said. Challenges included coordinating footwork and helping Panek avoid other runners and potholes, Panek said in an interview with WABC on March 14. 

Gus finished the last three miles of the relay, earning himself a medal at the finisher’s line.

dog, marathon
Thomas Panek and Gus. Image: Guiding Eyes for the Blind

After the race, he retired as Panek’s guide dog. Gus previously helped Panek complete a five-mile race in Central Park in December 2017.  /ra



LOOK: Runner carries lost puppy for 30km in marathon

Woman reunites with her savior guide dog

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.