Blind Seattle marathon runner prepares for national race



Posted on December 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Running wasn't Aaron Scheidies first choice. As a child, he dreamed of playing professional soccer.

"It's not possible when you're not able to see the ball," Scheidies said.

In second grade, Scheidies noticed he couldn't see things that other kids could see. Doctors diagnosed him with a hereditary degenerative eye condition. Today, he's almost completely blind.

 "I had no hope," he remembered. "There was no reason, energy, motivation for me to live."

At first, Scheidies only saw his disability. Depression led to obsessive compulsive disorder, as Scheidies checked clocks dozens of times a day.

"I would check it and then I'd check it again because I wasn't sure if I saw it right. Then I'd check it again," he said. "That was more because I didn't really believe in myself. Now I check the clock to see how fast I can go."

Scheidies just wanted to be like everyone else. Except, what saved his life left him anything but normal.

Using his iPhone to train, Schiedies has raced 7 marathons and 250 triathalons. He's won 8 national championships and 7 world championships.

Scheidies can still see big shapes, but he always memorizes his track. He runs Green Lake's path regularly by memory.

"I've run it so many times, I've memorized every pothole and crack," he said.

Sunday, he plans to race with 30 other visually impaired runners at the United States Association of Blind Athletes National Marathon Championships.

It's a race he's already won twice.

"It's made me stronger. It's made me a better person," Scheidies said. "I don't take things for granted."

Scheidies races using a green tether attached to a guide who runs beside him, kind of the way he now sees himself.

"An inspiration, a role model, and helped other people," he said.

Thanks to everything he couldn't see, Scheidies says, he can finally see what matters most.