South End Blind Athlete Places 3rd in National Marathon Championships

Robidoux with guide during the California International Marathon.
Robidoux with guide during the California International Marathon.

South End/Lower Roxbury resident Kyle Robidoux recently placed third in the United States Association of Blind Athletes National Marathon Championships held at the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento, CA. On Sunday, December 8th Robidoux took home a Bronze medal for the Class B3 division which is for visually impaired athletes who have a visual acuity above 20/600 and up to visual acuity of 20/200 and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees and more than 5 degrees in the best eye with the best practical eye correction. Robidoux is legally blind and has Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is a hereditary eye disease that affects ones night, peripheral, and central vision.


In addition to his third place finish, Robidoux also set a Personal Record (PR) at the Championships with a time of 3:50:18. The California International Marathon was Robidoux’s third full marathon. He also plans to run the 2014 Boston Marathon for the first time in April 2014, as a member of Team With A Vision.


There were over 30 blind and visually impaired athletes at the CIM participating in the marathon and relay teams. More than 30 blind and visually impaired runners traveled from across the country as well as other nations to compete in the USABA National Marathon Championships.


The CIM has become one of the largest races for blind and visually impaired athletes and has helped create a strong community of blind athletes.


“Running is all about building relationships and CIM is one of the pinnacle events for blind and visually impaired athletes,” said Robidoux, who attended CIM this year for the first time. “Most of the athletes spend the entire weekend in Sacramento so the weekend is one big community celebration. It is a chance for us to meet athletes who we’ve been emailing or talking to on social media in person. We talk about previous races and events, our families, and our goals for CIM.”


Robidoux, who ran at CIM with sighted guides for the first time, does all of his training runs outdoors in and around the South End. “Boston is a great place to run. There are trails, paths like the Southwest Corridor, and beautiful routes along the Esplanade for long runs.”


“People often ask me why I run and how I can run as someone with limited sight. Running is such a freeing activity for me. It allows me to set concrete goals, remain active, and provides me with an opportunity to meet some fantastic people,” says Robidoux. “Running, especially marathons, has taught me that when you set your mind to it, and move away from the ‘I can’t’ to ‘how can I do this’ attitude, we can do great things.”


This past September Robidoux became the Director of Volunteer & Support Group Services at the Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (MABVI). Robidoux is running the 2014 Boston Marathon as a member of Team With a Vision (TWAV), which is comprised of sighted and visually impaired runners. TWAV raises awareness about blindness as well as funds for MABVI’s programs. 


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