Is there a more noble and altruistic profession than the guide runner? This is the person who trains and races with a visually impaired athlete, tethered to them and driving, encouraging and helping them stay on the straight and narrow, locked together.

I put them on a par with other selfless members of the caring professions. The guide runner has to be a faster runner than the athlete, but subjugates his or her own ambitions for the good of his or her ‘customer’. Sure, they get to bask in the shared glory of a podium finish, but the sharing isn’t even, nor should it be.

This smacks to me of true dedication. I think – although I don’t know – that the guide runner is much more to the athlete than simply a guide runner. The nature of the job demands much more aspects to the relationship.

And then, as quickly as you can say ‘knife’ – as my father used to say, a phrase which always struck me as somewhat arcane – your customer can drop you, in search of a new partner, some new chemistry.

You must feel like a football manager at times, never more than a couple of poor results away from the professional guillotine.

 

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