Aaron Scheidies has overcome more in his short life than many conquer in a lifetime. Born with a hereditary eye condition that slowly deteriorates his central vision, Aaron now has about 15% of the vision of a fully sighted person. Aaron has won the Men’s Visually Impaired Division in the Boston Marathon the last three years as a member of Team With A Vision. An inspiration to many, Aaron has been featured in such magazines as GQ, Esquire, Competitor, Runner’s World, Time, People, ESPN the Magazine, and Men’s Health.
Imagine running down a road lined by over a million people in a major city where the entire town shuts down to focus on you. Now, imagine running down this same road being blind. All those smiling faces and motivating signs turn into deafening cheers and a constant flow of energy that brings goosebumps and chills throughout your body. The pounding feet on pavement and the rhythmic sound of close to 40,000 of the world’s best runners expiring air at differing volumes overwhelms your senses. This is my Boston Marathon experience.
My name is Aaron Scheidies and I am an elite blind athlete that chose to run the Boston Marathon for more than just to experience its history and prestige, I chose Boston to become a part of a community. I run for Team With A Vision, a community within the larger Boston community empowering those with visual impairments to conquer their dreams. Team With A Vision also gives fully sighted individuals the opportunity to guide a blind or visually impaired individual, a very valuable educational experience. The bonds formed with other blind and visually impaired individuals and guides on Team With a Vision represent the aspect of community and camaraderie that separates the Boston Marathon from any other endurance event in the world.
My first Boston Marathon was in 2012 and I have come back every year since. Why do I keep coming back? The answer is very simple, there’s only one Boston. I have experienced Ironman Hawaii and I have traveled across the world competing in the most historic and well known athletic events but none of them compare to Boston. Nowhere else in the world will you hear a screaming wall of college girls from nearly a mile away. Nowhere else in the world can you go into a major city and no matter who you ask, they will know the date of the Boston Marathon. Nowhere else in the world will you find a major city that has been brought together and defined by an endurance event like you will in Boston.
I have been losing my vision progressively for nearly 25 years, since I was 9 years old. The memories that are engraved in my mind from the Boston Marathon are as strong and vivid as ever. You don’t need to have vision to fully embrace and absorb the power of the Boston Marathon experience. There is only one Boston.
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