Blind man runs New York Marathon, guided by technology (video)

Leave a comment

Simon Wheatcroft previously ran several marathons. Even attempted a 150-mile ultra marathon in the Sahara Desert.

But this one was different. Last Sunday, Wheatcroft set out to complete his third New York City Marathon, but his first without the aid of a guide runner.

Wheatcroft, a 35-year-old Brit who has been legally blind since age 17, took off on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island wearing two pieces of technology.

Bands around his chest and his upper left arm would guide him among a sea of runners — around 50,000 start this race annually, making it the world’s largest marathon. Over five bridges and around more than a dozen turns of 90 degrees or more.

“Seven years ago [when I started running], I never thought I’d get to the point where I could run solo the biggest marathon in the world,” said Wheatcroft, who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as he entered teenage years.

Wheatcroft wore a band around his chest with ultrasonic sensors triggering different vibrations when detecting people around him based on the distance. He wore an armband to help navigate the course, such as notifying him when to turn.

“Traditionally to compete usually there’s a guide runner, someone who runs alongside,” Wheatcroft said. “Whereas now, if I choose solo, I can just start entering races and trying to win them all alone.”

Light rain during Sunday’s race caused his technology to malfunction. Wheatcroft finished in 5 hours, 17 minutes, 40 seconds, completing the final several miles in Manhattan with the traditional aid of guide runners.

In May 2016, Wheatcroft reportedly covered about 100 miles of the 150-mile Sahara Race in Africa using a smartphone app as a guide.

In 2014, he reportedly ran 240 miles in nine days from Boston to New York City — and then ran the New York City Marathon in 5:13:18.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Shalane Flanagan on her future after winning NYC Marathon

Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track medalist, to play for Miami Marlins

Eddy Alvarez
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eddy Alvarez realized his MLB dream, six years after earning a Winter Olympic medal, and during a global pandemic that affected his club more than any other U.S. professional sports franchise.

Alvarez, a 2014 U.S. Olympic short track speed skating medalist, is being added to the Miami Marlins roster for Tuesday’s restart of their abbreviated season, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, according to Marlins beat reporters.

The 30-year-old was among a group added after as many as 18 Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus last week, forcing the club to cancel seven games.

Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

He may be the second Olympic medalist in a sport other than baseball to make it to the majors, joining Jim Thorpe. (Michael Jordan tried to do so with the Chicago White Sox, playing Double-A in 1994, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995.)

Alvarez, a Miami native, played baseball in high school and at Salt Lake Community College before focusing on short track in 2012 for a 2014 Olympic run.

He came back from missing the 2010 Olympic team and surgeries on both knees, reportedly leaving him immobile and bedpan dependent for four to six weeks, to make the Sochi Winter Games. Eddy the Jet earned a silver medal in the 5000m relay.

Then Alvarez returned to baseball after three years away. He signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox in June 2014. He worked his way through the minors between that franchise and the Marlins system.

Alvarez was a Kannapolis Intimidator, a New Orleans Baby Cake and a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Now, he’s a big leaguer.

“It definitely was a chance, picking up a kid who hasn’t played in three years who is starting at the age of 24,” Alvarez said in 2014. “It’s not your typical story, but I play like a 17-year-old kid. I’m running around everywhere. I’m diving around everywhere. I’m full of life. I definitely see my progression moving at a rapid pace.”

MORE: What Olympic baseball, softball return looks like in 2021

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Katie Ledecky balances glass of chocolate milk on her head while swimming

Katie Ledecky
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Katie Ledecky will always remember Aug. 3 as the date she won her first Olympic gold medal, at age 15 in 2012.

Now, she can also associate it with the time she created another kind of buzz on social media.

The five-time Olympic champion posted video of her swimming the length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head. Barely any, if any, milk spilled into the pool.

Ledecky swam as part of a new got milk? ad campaign.

“Hoooowww nervous were you when you did this?!” fellow Olympic champion and training partner Simone Manuel asked Ledecky on Instagram.

“I have never braced my core so hard,” Ledecky wrote. “It’s a great drill!”

“Try doing it breaststroke,” British Olympic 100m breaststroke champion and world-record holder Adam Peaty wrote.

“Is it wrong of me to think this is even more impressive than a few of your WR’s?!!!” wrote 1992 Olympic champion Summer Sanders.

MORE: The meet where Kathleen Ledecky became Katie Ledecky

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!