Jessica Loomer, a BOSTONrabbit and RADrabbit is blind - but that doesn't stop her from pursuing her dreams and in 10 days she'll be running the Boston Marathon.
We sat down with her to learn a little bit more about her journey into running, what it's like to run with guides, how's she feeling for the big day and more.
1. Can you give us some background on your history as an athlete from a kid to now?
I am actually pretty new to running. As a kid, I ran track in high school and for fun in college, but it wasn’t anything serious! I did it for the cute running gear :). About 5 years ago, I lost vision due to a rare genetic eye disease called Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). I saw this awesome picture of another blind runner crossing the finish line with his guides arm in arm and from there I was inspired. So I called my local Achilles group and reached out to my local running group to ask if there was anyone willing to guide me! Amazing friendships and a whole lot of endurance is what I gained! It’s been an incredible journey from training runs to a 5k, then half-marathons and now THE BOSTON MARATHON, my third marathon.
2. Can you describe what it's like to run with a guide for 26.2 miles?
I consider myself so lucky – I always have someone to run with, we most likely will solve any problem either one of us has, learn new delicious recipes and I have this instant support who is cheering me on as we take on this marathon together. Pretty awesome, right?
3. How was your experience with Lisa Dosch at the NYC Marathon?
For the New York City Marathon, I ran with Achilles International and chose to have four guides that were completely random. We never met until the night before race day. It was crazy how instant our bond was – everyone worked together and supported each other. We were a team! Lisa, one of our amazing RADrabbits was the guide right in front of me. She helped me keep track of pace and was always calling out anything in our path – potholes, clothing, water – she helped us navigate everything and everyone. It’s a special friendship to run with someone 26.2 miles and I am thankful I met all of them.
4. Who will be your guides for Boston in 10 days?
I am lucky enough to run with two of my hometown guides! I am so excited to run this special race with them! Tracey and Laura are incredible friends that have been with me through it all – the good runs and the not so good runs! It’s a race of a lifetime that I get to share with them. I will be running with 70 other athletes in the AWD Division (Athletes with Disabilities) and I cannot wait to meet my team: Team with a VISION!
5. How has your training gone so far this year?
Tough question – training in the beginning was AWESOME. I was killing it out there and felt amazing. I dreamed of a PR at Boston…now? Well, I am working on my recovery with some hip flexor issues. I am going into this race with an insanely positive attitude and the goal is to have the time of my life. I am READY!
The 122nd Annual Boston Marathon is just 10 days away and we're so excited for Jessica and all of our BOSTONrabbit runners!