The partnership between a visually impaired runner (VIR) and sighted guide runner (SGR) constitutes a unique sporting dyad. The quality of these partnerships may profoundly impact the sport and physical activity (PA) experiences of visually impaired (VI) people, yet little is known about the experiences of VIRs and SGRs. This study aimed to explore qualitatively the running experiences of VIRs and SGRs. Five VIRs and five SGRs took part in in-depth, semi-structured interviews (M length = 62 minutes) exploring their running journeys and perceptions of running-together. We analysed the dataset using reflexive thematic analysis. Four themes were generated, comprising: becoming and being a running team; a multi-faceted intercorporeal experience; running-together promotes change; and disabling social interaction within running. Participants were generally positive about their running experiences, highlighting a range of benefits derived from the activity. Nevertheless, some examples of barriers to participation were also identified. Although the positive experiences described by the runners suggest guided running holds promise to increase PA in VI people, our findings illustrate the importance of directing attention towards developing high-quality relationships between VIRs and guides, alongside reinforcing the need for further change to promote inclusivity.
University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research
Dona Hall, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Trish Jackman, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Science