I first met David Kuhn at the 2013 Boston Marathon, where we were both running for the Mass. Association for the Blind’s Team With A Vision. David, a 61-year old blind grandfather of four, returned for the 2014 race, finishing the marathon in 6:15.
David is apparently a modest guy. When I met David again at this year’s race, one of the things we talked about was how winter weather and injuries had limited his training. He was wondering how he’d do given that his longest run coming in was only 8 miles.
One of the things we didn’t talk about was David’s upcoming run around the country to benefit cystic fibrosis. 11,000 miles over 14 months? Not worth mentioning.
I found out about David’s project when we connected via Facebook after the marathon. His motivation comes from his desire to do something for his 11 year old granddaughter, Kylie, who has cystic fibrosis.
“This run is all about emotions, a powerful driving force,” says David. “It is as though I had all the experiences I had so that together, me and my granddaughter, we will make a difference. Without her, none of my experiences have any real value. Without the pain I feel for her, I don’t put all my experiences toward something that may drive one more nail in the coffin of cystic fibrosis. She and I have come together at this time in human history to create a unique team.”
David, a lifetime Illinois resident, plans to begin his trip from the Seattle area in the next few weeks. His granddaughter has not been doing well, so he wants to get going as soon as he can.
He has a very rough idea of the course: Seattle to Bangor, Maine, south to Jacksonville, Florida, west to San Diego, and back to the start in Seattle.
David finds solving problems as they pop up energizing in itself, and planning every detail makes a project this big overwhelming, so he’s keeping things loose. His goal is knock the miles down one at a time, taking little bites out of the big picture as he goes.
As with any effort of this type, David needs attention and support of all kinds. But uniquely to him, he will need sighted guides every step of the way. As David notes, “I am blind. As with the many marathons I run, I cannot do this alone. The one thing that will keep me going are all the sighted guides along the way – their energy, their well wishes, their desire to help out on a daily basis.” Of course, there are other needs, for transportation, lodging, food, and more.
He has the right outlook. David says, “For me, life has always been fun. That I continue to find ways of getting things done, even without sight, is exhilarating to say the least. I love re-tooling myself. I thoroughly enjoy taking on tasks that I may not have done when I had sight. If you are wondering what a deck that a blind guy built, and a two car garage and front porch that he rebuilt looks like – so am I.”
“I have learned to fall in love with running after losing my sight, and I feel confident that my legs can carry me over the distance of 11,000 miles. To trust in so many strangers to get through it all feels like the most amazing adventure. “
Follow David’s progress: