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Commentary: The average blind person probably can’t run in a straight line at high speed but elite athletes can

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This was originally published on Quora on January 1 as Laura Hale’s answer to Can a completely blind person run 100m in a straight line unguided?.

I would speculate that yes, assuming tons and tons of training, ideal conditions, lack of other sounds, familiarity with the track, and a person standing at the end of the 100m serving as a voice guide rather than guide runner would make it possible in some conditions.
The reason I’d guess this is that T11 competitors can and do compete in the long jump while managing to stay inside the lane.
The dimensions for the long jump involve a 40 meter approach.  The thing is, even élite long jumpers with a guide at the end calling to the runner?  They can jump horribly, horribly wrong and land to the left or right of the landing pit.  If they were slowing down their running, they might be able to increase the frequency of landing better.
Still, for the average completely blind person who lacks athletic training trying to run full tilt while staying in a lane without a voice guide, guide runner or guide rail? I would put this as near impossible.
Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

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