2 Blind Veterans who Kayaked the Grand Canyon to compete in DC Biathlon

2 Blind Veterans who Kayaked the Grand Canyon to compete in DC Biathlon

MEDIA EVENT: September 17th


2 Blind Veterans who Kayaked the Grand Canyon to compete in DC Biathlon


(WASHINGTON, DC) —Members of Team River Runner (TRR) and the Congressionally Chartered Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) have completed a historic adventure – guiding five blind veterans who kayaked the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, a distance of 226 miles. Two years of training in Outtasight Vision Team Clinics through Team River Runner that were specifically programmed for blind and visually impaired paddlers paid off as the 5 blind veterans conquered the mighty rapids of the Grand Canyon.


         TRR is an adaptive paddling adventure program for wounded and disabled veterans, their family members, and other non- military disabled paddlers in communities across the nation. The organization began service to returning wounded service people at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in 2004. TRR is a Chapter of the Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA). Since their formation, TRR has placed 10,000+ veterans into kayaks in more than 60 chapters nationwide.


          The veterans and guides alike showed great resilience paddling for 12 days for a total of 226 miles on some of the most daunting rapids in the United States. This experience was empowering for all those on the trip, showing everyone following the trip’s progress as well as themselves that they are capable of incredible feats. Travis Fugate, a blind veteran mentioned, “ I don’t think I will ever say “I can’t” again.” This seemed to be the sentiment among all the blind veterans as their hard work and can-do attitude throughout the trip, inspired their veteran guides and safety boaters.  


          The Grand Canyon isn’t the last stop for these veterans, they will go on to serve as ambassadors for Team River Runner, encouraging other blind and visually impaired veterans to get involved in adaptive paddling programs. Next up for our Vision Team members Brian Harris, Steve Baskis and hopefully others, is to take part in the 14th Annual TRR DC Biathlon taking place on October 14th at the Washington Canoe Club. This race is a 1 mile flat water kayak or Stand Up Paddle board race followed by a 3 mile run, walk or hand cycle segment. The Vision Team members will be racing as part of an adaptive team. Information about the event can be found at https://teamriverrunner.myetap.org/fundraiser/dc_biathlon18/

This historic adventure was partially funded by Google Maps. The ultimate goal is to encourage all veterans or non veterans with disabling issues to take on adventure paddling in its many forms. To get involved with Team River Runner, find a chapter near you on www.TeamRiverRunner.org.  

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