WLOS NEWS 13 – MARCH 10, 2016

Blind runner to make history at Asheville Marathon

By Kelsay Hart

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A veteran marathon runner from Hendersonville will make history this weekend at the Asheville Marathon.

Mike Merino will be the first visually-impaired runner at the event. If he finishes in time, he will qualify to run in the Boston Marathon.

Merino ran the Boston Marathon in 2013, and finished the race just five minutes before the first bombs exploded. He told News 13 that his finish time was also five minutes earlier than expected.

For races, he is tethered to a guide to keep him safe.

Merino has Usher Syndrome Type II, a hereditary disease that caused moderate hearing loss at birth and the onset of Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye disease. He was not formally diagnosed until his late 30s.

He now has no peripheral vision and night blindness.

During the Asheville Marathon, Merino’s guilde will be Curtis Nash, from South Carolina. Nash has never been a guide, and volunteered after seeing a post on Facebook on the Asheville Marathon Page.

Source: WLOS NEWS 13