The Blind Man Who Ran a Marathon Without a Guide Person or Dog

Oregon Grape, snip from video

Imagine this—One morning, you and your colleges are called into the conference room and presented with this question: “Can we give a blind runner the freedom to run without a guide dog or a guide runner?”

Wow. What a challenge.

This morning I searched for “Happy stories” because I felt what is being thrown at us is fear, conflict, and horror.

Yesterday I mentioned to a friend that I wanted a happy story. She said, like kitties and puppies.

Yes, I love kitties and puppies. So many happy or at least tender-hearted stories are about animals–a dog sleeping with a deer, an Alaskan Husky romping with a polar bear, an elephant reaching his trunk to a kitty stranding on a rock in the middle of a stream. (You know the kitty was rescued, someone took the picture.)

This morning I found one about humans.

Blind Thomas Panek believed he was born to run and had raced with the aid of a guide runner, but he felt he was always following someone. For a marathon, he used a three-dog relay. But he dreamed of running independently.

The designers came up with an app, phone, headphones, and a stripe painted on the road. The device could tell the runner when he veered right or left. 

On a run through a forested road, Thomas broke down and cried for before, he said, he was always dependent upon someone. 

This gave him freedom.

Human ingenuity. 

Project guidelines.

Do you have a happy story to tell?

Tell me. 

And if you would help me get 100 subscribers on my YouTube channel, I can change the URL to custom. 

That way, I can remove my actual name and give it a simple name to share and to find. (I must also include a picture and have a banner. I’ve done that. Now I need subscribers.) So far, I have 87 views. Perhaps you don’t want to listen to me for 9 minutes—but the forest is pretty. The latest video is of a trail in the Cascade Range of Oregon. It’s a short walk down to the McKenzie River. And I am happy I got my audio aligned with the video and a roar of the river at the end. 

You know how rushing water can be calming and exciting all at the same time. I wish that for you.

Carry on,


“In the fall of 2019, I asked that question to a group of designers and technologists at a Google hackathon. I wasn’t anticipating much more than an interesting conversation, but by the end of the day, they’d built a rough demo that allowed a phone to recognize a line taped to the ground and give audio cues to me while I walked with Blaze. We were excited and hopeful to see if we could develop it into something more.” –Thomas Panek


July 27. 2021

Jewell’s Happy Trails #3                                                       Jewell’s Happy Trails #2

 McKenzie River Trail                                                          Marcola Hills, Oregon

Jewell’s happy Trails #1

This video is in my channel.  I left 

it raw and uncensored  because 

I liked it being off the cuff. 

Perhaps it needs shortened a bit.

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