Marla Runyan made the US Olympic team for track and field even though she has limited vision. Her story is an inspiration for everyone.
Marla Runyon placed third in the qualifying trials for the Women’s 1500 meters earning a spot on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team – the first time a legally blind person has ever accomplished such a feat. Diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease as a child, Marla has been legally blind for 20 years; but she refuses to consider her blindness a handicap. “It is not a factor or an excuse for a bad race,” she says. Marla’s performance in the Olympics stands as a testimony to what can be achieved through determination and hard work.
She claims she never dreamed she could go this far. Marla was studying to be a special education teacher when she received her first professional contract back in 1999. But Marla Runyan is considered to be one of the greatest success stories in U.S. running. Not only has she overcome a visual impairment; she impressively moved from sprints and the heptathlon to middle distances.
Now, Marla competes on both the track and the road, shining in races from the 1,500m to the marathon: Her accomplishments include being a three-time USA Outdoor 5,000m champion (2001-2003), finishing as the top American woman in the marathon in New York (2002), and running a 14:59.20 in the 5,000.
•2-Time U.S. Olympian, 2000 and 2004 (1500m and 5000m)
•Olympic Finalist, 8th place finish 1500 meters 2000 Olympic Games
•Pan-American Games Gold Medalist, 1500m (1999)
•3-Time Outdoor Track National Champion, 5000m (2001 – 2003)
•3-Time Road 5k National Champion, (2002-2004)
•Former American Record holder, Indoor 5000m 15:07.33
•2002 NYC Marathon, 4th Place, Top American 2:27.10
•2003 Boston Marathon, 5th Place, Top American 2:30.33
•2004 Chicago Marathon, 7th Place, Top American 2:28.33
•2006 Twin Cities Marathon Champion, National Champion 2:32.17