Disabilities don’t stop these runners

Radane Wright, 25, survived being hit by a car, but was told by doctors that he shouldn’t play any contact sports following the head injury he sustained.

So he turned to one of the most easily accessible activities of all to keep in shape: running.

“After the accident in 2006 I noticed my vision decreasing, especially at night,” Wright said. “I joined the Achilles Running Club in 2010 to keep active, since I was already very involved in soccer, tennis and volleyball prior to my injury anyway.”

The Canadian Achilles Running Club is a non-profit organization that encourages people with disabilities to take part in running.

Achilles Canada trains and provides support to participants who have disabilities such as epilepsy, amputation, multiple sclerosis and those who suffer from stroke, head injuries and even visual impairments, like in Wright’s case.

Weekly runs occur all over the city of Toronto, teaming abled-bodied members with participants to reach their fitness goals. The organization hosts a weekly meet-up every Saturday at 8:30 a.m. on the indoor track of Monarch Park Stadium, off Coxwell Avenue, south of Danforth.

“A barrier when running that I faced was depth of perception, so I learned that in a sprint that if I touched the line, I would get disqualified,” Wright said. “But Achilles Canada president Brian McLean introduced me to other blind runners who encouraged me and helped me train and figure out solutions to compensate for my weakness in sight.”

Wright placed first in the 2010 Achilles race and second place in 2013.

“Training through Achilles, I have been able to represent Canada as a high-performance athlete, and have had the opportunity to train with a coach to get ready for Paralympics and Pan Am Games,” he said.

Chris White, 48, also participates with Achilles Canada after he noticed a decrease in sight.

“I have 20/400 vision with no central vision and I run with a guide in races for safety purposes,” he said.

White joined in 2009 after learning about the organization through Blind Sailing Canada.

“I’ve participated in the Achilles run for the past four years and placed 10th out of 134 people in my age group last year.”

White says the Achilles Running Club offers great support whether you’re a walker or a runner.

Achilles Canada Vice President Duff McLaren says that most participants are visually impaired.

“We’ve had a few visually impaired people come with their guide dogs and they are able to run while one of our volunteer walks the dogs,” he said. “We also have a program if they run 500 km we get them a pair of running shoes to inspire them to get out there and do their distance.”