It is hard to come up with an activity that is less of a team sport than long-distance running. Out on a race course, a runner has only themselves to rely on.
Unless that is, you do it like Ken Clausell and Ingrid Christiansen. When the two South Bay athletes go for a run, their teamwork is a sight to see (and hear).
“She’s my eyes and I’m her ears,” Ken said.
Ken is blind and Ingrid is hearing impaired. “Unless I have hearing aids, I don’t hear much of anything,” Ingrid said.
Out on a run, each clues the other into what they may be missing. Ingrid calls out obstacles on the road Ken can’t see and Ken alerts Ingrid to things she can’ hear.
“When runners come up beside her and say, ‘I’m on your left and she can’t hear them,’ She’ll turn to me and say ‘What did that runner say?’ I’ll say, ‘The runner said I’m passing you on your left,’” said Kenneth.
Distance running has long been a part of Ken’s life, even after he began losing his eyesight as a teenager but using an official running guide like Ingrid is a relatively new concept. Before then, he would use other runners who appear to be running his pace.
“I would just use people without them knowing that I am actually trying to follow them,” said Kenneth. “Watching their feet. When they step up, I step up.”
Ken met Ingrid this past summer through the Too Legit Fitness Group. Ken shared with Ingrid a series of races he had run at Disney World called the Dopey Challenge (four races, from 5k to marathon, run on four consecutive days). Ingrid was intrigued and they decided to train for and tackle the 2023 Dopey Challenge together.
Earlier this month in Floriday both Ken and Ingrid completed the combined 48.6 miles of the Dopey Challenge, each giving each other credit for helping them reach their goal.
Source: NBC Bay Area