Running Strong: Woman trains to be blind man's Boston Marathon guide
HOPKINTON - Christine Houde is training for the Boston Marathon, but not for herself. Houde is training to be the running guide for Randy Pierce, who's blind.
"I feel honored that he's asked me to be part of his team," Houde said.
In 2013 Pierce completed the Boston short run, but this will be his first Boston Marathon.
"I love challenges, turning obstacles into opportunity," Pierce said.
An avid White Mountain climber, Pierce has become a sort of media celebrity after his YouTube video recently went viral. Pierce completed a 10.5-mile Tough Mudder in California, a feat that was accomplished by only 10 percent of the competitors.
"I thought ‘ring that bell,' and the crowd went crazy," Pierce said.
On April 20, Christine and her husband will use Pierce's seeing-eye cane to guide him all the way from Hopkinton to Boston.
"I'm holding that in my right hand, (the cane) is in his left hand and we're diagonal," Houde said. "Navigating around people is difficult. I'm giving him verbal cues. I have to say ‘pothole on the ground, three, two, one' so he knows to change his footing. Any kind of drop off on the ground or a car coming, I have to make sure to say tight behind and he comes behind. It's a lot harder for him."
Their goal: To finish in less than four hours.
"It's hard enough for a person with vision right?" Houde said. "He's doing a lot more than a person with full vision would ever think to do. That's the cool part."