Working out and living a healthy lifestyle is a challenge for many people who are for the most part “healthy” or at least do not have a health condition in their lives, but when I hear of stories like the one Jason Romero of Denver Colorado my respects to the man for leading by example. And he clearly goes to show that many times our biggest challenge is the limiting mindset that we trap ourselves around.

On March 24, 2016, at Santa Monica Pier, a blind runner began to make history. Romero, a world record holder in multiple distances and times, will begin VisionRunUSA – a 3-month journey across the U.S., on foot. When Jason finishes his run at Faneuil Hall in Boston, he will become the first blind person ever to run across the U.S. WOW!

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Group that accompanied Romero from Santa Monica to LA City Hall

Guiding him the first two days of his cross country adventure was Vincent Hau, MD and PhD, a vitreoretinal physician and surgeon at the Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center.
Dr. Hau is an experienced marathoner who has a passion for running. He is also passionate about helping his patients with their retinal health. When Dr. Hau met Jason Romero at the California International Marathon last year, Romero told him of his plans to run from Los Angeles City Hall to New York City Hall, (although officially starting at the Santa Monica Pier with his foot in the ocean). In 2015, Dr. Hau ran the Boston Marathon as a guide runner for the visually impaired. Having such a positive experience doing that, Hau called Romero up and told him he’d be honored to be his guide for the first leg of his journey if he’d have him.

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Romero with Dr. Vincent Hau just a few steps away from LA City Hall

The run started at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 24th at the Santa Monica Pier and proceeded to LA City Hall (about 17-18 miles). The next morning, Friday, March 24th, the run started at 4 a.m. in front of LA City Hall and Jason ran 50 miles. This took him just past Chino City Hall. Jason will continue to try to run around 50 miles a day until he reaches NYC City Hall around Memorial Day. Adrian Broca (Los Angeles, Calif.), visually impaired marathon and ultramarathon runner, will run with Romero the first week in support of VisionRunUSA. Romero and Broca will also be joined by Mark Lucas, executive director of United States Association of Blind Athletes.

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Before taking off in Santa Monica

Jason was diagnosed at 14-years old with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that gradually decreases peripheral and central sight, visual acuity and the ability to perceive light. Despite setbacks and obstacles, he went on to become an honor student, attorney, business executive at GE and Western Union and CEO of a non-profit school for children with Autism. In 2014, at 43 years old, Jason had lost 85% of his sight and suddenly found himself hopeless and depressed. That’s when he reached out to the United States Association of Blind Athletes and started running again. Running and connecting with blind athletes across the U.S. renewed his joy for life.

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Romero with Dr. Hau before Starting

Romero will run roughly 3,200 miles, to Boston, in the span of around 60 days. Romero will cross 14 state lines (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts) to inspire Americans, sighted and not.

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Along the Route

You can follow Jason’s journey on social media (links below), join the conversation (#VisionRunUSA) and track his progress across the country on his website: www.VisionRunUSA.com

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