Ben received the Pride of Australia Award in 2011.

Ben received the Pride of Australia Award in 2011.

“The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.” Helen Keller

In preparation for guiding my friend Francois in the 2010 Comrades, I joined the Achilles Running Club Sydney where I had the opportunity to train with visually impaired runners. There I met Ben who helped me to learn how to be a successful guide.

Ben and I are running without a tether, a technique rarely practiced, as it requires a lot of trust from the visually impaired person.

Since 2010, Ben and I regularly participated in the Sydney Half-marathons, and in 2011 we finished the Sydney Marathon in 4:56 with only 10 weeks preparation (see Ben’s report below). 

After this milestone Ben was looking for bigger challenges. So in 2012 he organised an Achilles team of four visually impaired walkers, and together with a team of four guides, they finished the 50-km Sydney Coastrek in just over 18 hours.

A year later, and in typical Ben fashion, the bar was risen a notch, and Ben, as the only blind participant together with his trusted guide John Faulkner, finished the 100-km Sydney Coastrek from Palm Beach to Coogee Beach in 33 hours and 30 minutes.

After Coastrek, Ben and I trained hard and took part in the 12-hour Centennial Park Ultra marathon to prepare for our big adventure in November – to run the iconic New York Marathon 2013, which Ben mastered in a new PB of 4 hours and 38 minutes.

How NOT to train for a Marathon in 10 weeks!
Ben’s training diary in large-print version (PDF 80KB)
Very entertaining!

Ben Phillips with John Faulkner at the start of the 100km Oxfam Trailwalk in Melbourne in 2010.

Together with his guide John Faulkner, Ben completed the 100-km Oxfam Trailwalker in Melbourne in 2010, 2012 and 2013. In the last race he secured a new world record time for a blind person in 28 hours and 53 minutes.

The photos on this page were supplied by Ben.

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