Randy Howard and Mary Ann Knell had the Hillcrest Fitness Center track memorized, then the running duo decided to train outside.
“It presented the challenges that I expected,” said Randy.
When they swapped the track for the pavement, the pair was faced with branches, wet leaves, wind and other runners as obstacles.
New terrain might not seem like a big deal but it is for Randy- he’s blind.
"I lost my eyesight when I was three and a half," Randy said. He was born with Retinoblastoma but said he has never let his disability or other barriers stop him from achieving his goals.
“I'd rather spend my energy figuring out how to kick it down and go on,” said Randy.
Mary Ann is Randy’s friend and is helping him train for the Tulsa Run 5k.
“I’m his guide,” said Mary Ann.
Randy holds on to the inside of Mary Ann's left elbow and she guides him.When FOX23 spoke with the pair in August,
they were training indoors. Since they left the safety of the indoor track in the dust Mary Ann said that her role is now more intense.
“My eyes are always scanning and cuing him while we are running,” said Mary Ann. Mary Ann said she uses verbal cues to let Randy know if there is biker, runner or environmental block in the road.
She said she will then guide him around anything that might be in way of their running path.
Randy said they will be wearing signs on their back during the race to illustrate to others runners that Mary Ann is the guide and that he is blind.
“It’s actually a piece of advice that we’ve gotten from another blind runner,” said Randy, “Hopefully it will alert people who might be coming up behind us on the situation.”
Mary Ann says the signs are the only differences between them and the other runners. Mary Ann says when race day arrives they don’t want special treatment and plan on running with the pack.
“We are just like the other runners we fit in normal just like them,” said Mary Ann.
Randy says he doesn’t need to see the finish line to know he crossed it. He says the run is all about accomplishing a goal with his friend.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Randy.
The Tulsa Run is scheduled for October 27th.