December 4, 2017 jasperdetaeye

How an almost Blind Runner inspired me

Since my move to Dublin in January 2017, I have become a more dedicated runner. After I’ve run the marathon of Dublin, I joined the athletics club The Crusaders. During one of the evenings training vigorously with the crusaders, one of the crusaders was appraised by the trainer for his sublime performance. It regarded the runner D (to assure his privacy I will not use his full name). D had run the marathon in 2:49:00. Can that be considered fast? Yeah, it can. Can that be considered fast for somebody with a physical disadvantage like D? It can be considered insane. D has an eyesight of 7%. In other (harsher) words, he is nearly blind.

I simply couldn’t comprehend what it would be like to run, at such a pace, nearly blind. Hence, I walked to D for a chat. Firstly, I complimented him on his incredible time running the marathon. At the moment, D is the number 6 of the world in his Paralympics category. We’d hit it off immediately and started chatting about running, Ireland and so on. He wanted to become the fastest man in his category and needed to stretch himself to reach that level. The fundament of our training relation was established. I have to honour to guide D to that time. Helping somebody out and exercise simultaneously is like music to my ears.

Over the several training sessions and matches run together, I began to get to know D better. I heart his story. I became aware of his dreams. And I commiserate with his struggles due to his physical disadvantage. D is an example to me. Why?

If you lose your eyesight at the age of 18 and pick up life again and train yourself to become the fastest (nearly) blind man in the world, you are a serious example to me. If you replace self-pity with perseverance, discipline and dedication to achieve an incredible goal, you are an inspiration to me. If you prioritise hard-working and finding an alternative to cope with your physical disadvantages instead of getting down-hearted, you can be called my example. If you remain to have a sense of humour and have a touch of self-mockery time by time, you can expect my admiration.

Previously, I always thought I needed highly capable, successful and pérfect people to inspire me. Now I know that can be considered utter bollocks. People do not have to be brilliant in all aspects of life to be inspiring. As long as people are authentic and live with heart, people are inspiring.

We truly live in a wonderful world. At certain moments, I am caught off guard meeting certain people. It’s intriguing how certain people can be of such an inspirational value and can be considered a huge contribution to your motivation and personal development.

Thanks D for being an inspiration to me! Let’s make you the winner of the Paralympics in Tokio 2020!

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