Partly blind P.E.I. marathon runner inspires others to lace up
Todd MacAusland has retinitis pigmentosa, which causes progressive vision loss with no known cure
Todd MacAusland has several marathons under his belt, but running an endurance race is not the biggest challenge he has faced.
The Stratford man has retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that causes slow progressive vision loss with no treatment or cure.
He knows the roads he runs very well, even though what he sees of them is hazy.
"I don't have any night vision left at all now. It's pretty hard to navigate in the dark, so I rely on family and friends when we're out and about and peripherally my vision has deteriorated," says MacAusland.
Four years ago he wanted to get into shape, so MacAusland says he started exercising on his treadmill. That turned into 5K runs which led to marathons — three so far.
He says he found support in a community of visually impaired runners and guides who help.
"We just run alongside together, I like to keep them on my left side, they know to call out curbs coming out, or if there's traffic coming, or anything I might not see," says MacAusland.
Dana Cole has been one of MacAusland's running partners for the last year and has accompanied him to runs off-Island. She says he gives a great deal of himself to others.
"He's very encouraging. When we see Todd running, there's no reason why the rest of us shouldn't be doing the same thing," Cole says.
MacAusland's next goal is the Support the Troops half-marathon this April in Charlottetown. He says his wife and children are his biggest inspiration.
"I made the decision a long time ago that I was going to live my life the best way I could, change what I can, manage what I can't and just move forward."