Blind Runners Allowed Guide Dogs in ‘Bolder Boulder’ Run
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Five blind people walked through the Bolder Boulder foot race behind 33,000 runners after organizers decided to allow guide dogs on the course.
The five, including a county commissioner, had threatened to protest the 6.2-mile run held Monday if they were barred from using their dogs.
″We had a marvelous walk,″ said participant Carolyn Novotny, 31, of Denver. ″I’m very, very grateful. ... I’m also grateful there were no incidents, no casualties, no one tripped.″
Race officials, fearing the dogs might become confused on the course and trip runners, agreed to allow Novotny and her dog, Trust, to start in the last wave of more than 33,000 participants.
Race director Bill Reef said blind people are allowed to compete with the help of human guides. Dogs are prohibited under the race’s insurance policy.
Officials made an exception after Novotny was barred from a walking race a week earlier in Denver and threatened to protest the Boulder event, one of the largest annual 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) runs in the nation.
One guide dog became confused Monday but was led back onto the course. No one was injured.
Race officials said they will consider allowing guide dogs again next year if they can arrange insurance coverage.
The race held each year in Boulder, about 40 miles northwest of Denver, winds through residential streets, up a hill, and ends at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field.