Marla Runyan is a legally blind marathon runner who has set several track and field records at the 2006 Paralympics in Atlanta. She also represented the United States at the 2000 Olympics, becoming the first legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympics.
It is difficult to imagine how difficult it is for Runyan to see. Just imagine walking through a thick fog where you cannot see anything around you and everything is a blur. At nine years-of-age, Runyan was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, which results in permanent macular degeneration that causes damage to the retina. As a consequence of ocular damage, her peripheral vision is severely limited, making her unable to see anything positioned to her left or right.
The above visual deterioration has not prevented Runyan from pursing and achieving her dreams. She became national champion for the 5K and 10K races, while also being ranked number one in the United States for the 3000m race. Although, she cannot see the finish line, she can imagine it in her mind.