April 30, 2019

My name is Jason Ackiss and I love what team Para Guide does for the disabled community.  I have always loved to run, but for years was limited to running on a treadmill. For anyone who has spent a lot of time on a treadmill, this gets old very quickly.  Running with a guide allows me to run outside in the elements and under different road conditions. It also increases not only my fitness, but allows me to form friendships with others who also enjoy running.  I have one primary guide, but have had the opportunity to run with several other guides. The fellowship aspect of either running in a group, or going for a run with just my guide is something I would have never gotten while running on a treadmill.  I am a much stronger runner as a result of running with team Para Guide.

While I do not have a single memory that sticks out from Para Guide, there are two things that I will always remember.  The first is the experience of riding a bike again. I had sight as a child, and loved to ride my bike. I do not participate in any bicycling events, but was able to ride a tandem bike one afternoon and had a blast.  For this one afternoon, I was able to be a kid again.

My primary form of fitness is running, as stated above.  There are several events I have participated in, from running several 5Ks, a couple of half marathons and being on a team that runs in the Blue Ridge Relay every September.  These collective experiences, and honestly just going for runs while either training or for fun are an integral part of my life now. I can’t imagine not getting up and going for a run 4 or 5 times a week.

In 2019, I have plans to run in a couple of 5Ks, the Blue Ridge Relay and if possible, run another half marathon.

None of this would be possible without the willingness of sighted volunteers, and I am grateful they take their time to run with me.  And while they may start as volunteers, that label is quickly shed and they become very good friends.