Monday 19 August 2019

Organisers backtrack to reinstate blind athlete banned from Mini Marathon because running guide is male

Credit: Twitter/@KaneSinead
Credit: Twitter/@KaneSinead
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A visually impaired female runner has been told she will now be able to take part in the Vhi Dublin Mini Marathon.

She had previously been told that because her guide is a man he would not be able to run - meaning she would not be able to participate.

Credit: Twitter/@KaneSinead
Credit: Twitter/@KaneSinead

Accomplished athlete Sinead Kane had spoken of her frustration at the response from the organisers of the June race, who have said that men are banned from competing in the race.

"Can anyone in Ireland please explain 2me why as a blind runner I am denied the right 2have a 'male' guide in a Dublin race???," she tweeted.

Youghal woman Sinead has 5pc visibility and has been declared legally blind.

Her guide is one of the best long distance runners in the country, John O'Regan, who has represented Ireland in the past.

Sinead is also Ireland's first blind solicitor
Sinead is also Ireland's first blind solicitor

"Most recently I ran [with Sinead] in the 50k national championships in Donadea in February," John told RTE's Morning Ireland.

"Sinead was the first visually impaired person to complete an ultra marathon in Ireland. We had no issues and I got her across the finish line safely."

John revealed that Sinead, who was also the first visually impaired person to complete the Dublin Marathon, wanted to run the Mini Marathon this summer as she "wanted to revisit how she started off".

However, the organisers of the mini marathon have relented this morning after Sinead's case was highlighted.

Credit: Twitter/@KaneSinead
Credit: Twitter/@KaneSinead

"The Women’s Mini Marathon Limited has reviewed its policy relating to visually impaired and wheelchair entrants. T

"To preserve the female character of the event only females can enter. However, we appreciate that some visually impaired or wheelchair entrants need assistance.

"We have changed our policy in this respect and will welcome both male and female assistants for these entrants. Male assistants will be given a special permit to allow access, while female assistants can either enter the event or receive a special permit."

Kathy Endersen, Deputy CEO said “we have always welcomed visually impaired and wheelchair athletes in the event and do our utmost to facilitate their needs. Sinead Kane participated in our event in 2012 where she came second in the visually impaired category and we look forward to receiving her entry for this year and wish her every success.”

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