Oct. 30, 2014
For immediate release

Visually Impaired Championships Continue to Attract Marathoners

The USA Blind Athletes National Championships return to the California International Marathon this year with more runners and an enhanced reputation as a destination event for visually impaired athletes.

A field of 43 is expected for the sixth annual USABA National Marathon Championships, part of the 32nd annual CIM on Dec. 7. That’s nearly a 25 percent increase from last year.

The CIM, a 26.2-mile test from Folsom to the state Capitol, is put on by the Sacramento Running Association.

“The California International Marathon has a great reputation across the country as a premier destination for visually impaired runners to come run a marathon,” said Folsom’s Richard Hunter, a visually impaired runner who helps coordinate the USABA event for the CIM.

“The Sacramento Running Association has done everything it possibly can to make it a VIP experience.”

That includes a heated tent near the start and a tent in the finish area for visually impaired runners to gather.

“The Sacramento Running Association is proud that USABA has again selected the California International Marathon as its Marathon National Championship,” CIM race director Eli Asch said. “We are happy to host these champion-caliber blind and visually impaired athletes as they compete for personal records and national titles.

“Of special significance to the SRA is the opportunity this partnership with USABA has provided us to host veterans who lost their eyesight while defending their country. We commend these athletes for both their service to their country and commitment to lead an active, healthy lifestyle despite their vision loss. They’re an inspiration to us all, and heroes in the truest sense of the word.”

Three-time men’s USABA champion Aaron Scheidies of Seattle returns, but this time he plans to team with Folsom’s Michael Kinoshita in a two-person effort to break the 2-hour, 30-minute mark in the Bank of the West CIM Relay Challenge.

Adrian Broca of Los Angeles, Denver’s Jason Romero and Matthew Rodjom from Fairfax, Va. are expected to battle for the men’s USABA title. Tina Ament (Alexandria, Va.) and Regine Sediva (Brea, Ca.) are the women’s visually impaired favorites.

The CIM first allowed visually impaired runners in its field in 2007, with the USABA Championships beginning its partnership with the CIM in 2009.

This year’s field includes 29 marathoners and 14 relay participants. Another 10 visually impaired runners are expected to participate in the 2.62-mile UC Davis Children’s Hospital MaraFUNrun.

The USABA Championships are sponsored by VSP Vision Care.

“I was just blown away by the amount of interest in our event,” Hunter said. “They’ve been coming back year after year.”

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.