In the latest episode of Dangerous Vision, Randy Cohen talks with Marla Runyan, a former world-class American track and field athlete and marathon runner who is legally blind. At age nine, she was diagnosed with Stargardts disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration that causes progressive vision loss.
Randy and Marla talk about running, determination, and reinvention. Her running career is impressive–Marla qualified for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials in the heptathlon, where she finished 10th but fell well short of making the Olympic Team. In 1992, Marla competed in her first of two Paralympic Games, and ultimately won 5 gold medals and set 9 world records in the T13 visually impaired classification.
In 1996, Marla relocated to Eugene, Oregon and reinvented herself as a middle-distance runner. With a new coach and heightened focus, Marla won gold in the 1500-meters at the 1999 Pan-American Games and finished 10th in the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Seville, Spain.
Today Marla is the manager of the para-athletic division for the Boston Athletic Association. The B.A.A., established in 1887, is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The Boston Marathon is one of many races put on by the B.A.A. For more information visit https://www.mabvi.org/resources/dangerous-vision/