Runner Story: Rachel Hastings
Hi MNRS fans, we are honored share this runner's story! Rachel Hastings was born legally blind; diagnosed with bilateral coloboma. She lost a significant amount of the little vision she had in her early 20s and continues to experience vision loss, causing her to need to relearn many things. She uses her physical condition and her experiences to fuel her drive and determination to press toward her goals.
When Rachel was 14, she started running to get in better shape. She couldn't stand it! Her mother had been a runner for 35+ years and Rachel remembers watching her on the treadmill thinking "I will never do what she is doing." But three months after Rachel started running, she was able to run 5 miles at a time and discovered that she was actually enjoying herself! As the months continued to go by, she fell in love with running.
As a sophomore in high school, Rachel participated on the track team running the 1 and 2 mile distances. And it didn't take long for her to try her first road race, a half marathon. She ran with her mom who was her first guide runner. That half marathon sparked Rachel's desire to run a marathon, and she did. At the age of 26, she has now run two full marathons, the Twin Cities Marathon in 2017 and the Boston marathon in 2018. Rachel has also run five half marathons and the Twin Cities 10 mile. Rachel will run her third marathon this October.
One of Rachel's greatest passions is showing the world by example that being blind does not mean one cannot be active. Although she is not completely blind, she has very little residual vision. And states, "That’s where trust comes in. As a blind runner, I rely on my guides to protect me from any obstacle in my path."
Rachel is an official member of Achilles International, a worldwide organization promoting physical activity for individuals with physical disabilities, and she looks forward to many more years of strong running.