One small half-marathon for man, one giant leap for guide dogs everywhere as a relay team of three trained canines made history by successfully leading a blind marathoner to the finish line for the first time in history.
Thomas Panek, a 49-year-old from South Salem, New York, successfully completed the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half, but he couldn’t have done it without the help of Gus, Westley and Waffle, the three guide dogs trained to lead the blind on runs.
“It’s hard not to be able to see,” Panek said, moments after crossing the finish line Sunday. “But just to say to people who are blind, get out there. You can do it. You can do anything.”
Panek, who has done 20 marathons as a blind adult, including five Boston Marathons, three New York City Marathons, a Marine Corps Marathon and a California International Marathon, completed the half-marathon in two hours, 20 minutes and 51 seconds.