Blind Student Leads Peers in Cross Country Runs

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

STAUNTON, Va -- Ryan Cole, a cross country runner, joined the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind team this fall and hit the track.

“It was kind of a no-brainer for me, something I knew I was good at,” Cole said.

Cole has worked with cross country guides Lisa Walters and Erin Yanez to become a stronger runner.

“It's just good for the students to know that there are more opportunities out there for them and that, with the right help or adaptation, they can do so much more than they may have thought before,” Walter said.

Yanez said running is not all just about getting exercise.

“You really think about the running process. It's not just the physical aspect of getting out there, it's a mental game, too,” Yanez said.

Other cross country students see the track a little differently, though, and that's why the school needs more volunteer guides to help them with their needs.

Other students have more limitations than Cole, but Cole is confident enough now to guide younger students.

“I believe that a lot of the younger kids got very involved, very motivated and very determined. Certainly a lot of the younger kids have a very bright future in running,” Cole said.

“It was very overpowering, to see that someone has that kind of effect.”

It is difficult for Cole to see long distances and to see some obstacles, but that hasn't slowed him or his teammates down.

“I feel like my disability isn't really a setback for me," Cole said.

The school always needs volunteers for running guides.

For more information or questions call or e-mail:

Jim Kiser, Athletic Director
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
P.O. Box 2069
Staunton, Va. 24402

Phone: (540)-332-9028

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