HONOLULU (KHON2) — Happening at the same time as the Honolulu Marathon is the “Start to the Park 10K”. It’s not as long as the marathon; but it is still challenging, especially for Marri Murdoch.

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Marri Murdoch said she fell in love with running in high school; but five years ago, she suffered a silent stroke, permanently affecting her left peripheral vision in both eyes.

That did not stop her from doing what she loves. “I have to do a lot of visual scanning with my eyes because, basically, whatever I’m focusing on everything to the left is gone completely. So, I have to run in my quiet neighborhood streets early in the morning when there’s not many people around,” said Murdoch.

Since the marathon will be a completely different environment, she realized she needed help and said, “it just dawned on me, like, oh my goodness, I’m gonna be running in the dark with 25,000 other people. My vision is terrible; and in the dark, I run into the walls and things and I can’t see.”

Marri started searching for a sighted guide; and one week before race day, she found him. Matt Chamberlain is a volunteer at Access Surf, a non-profit that helps people with varying disabilities access water through surfing and swimming. He and Marri met; and when Matt heard she needed a guide, he offered.

This was Matt’s first time being a sighted running guide. “It’s such a cool experience being able to help other people reach their goals. With Marri, not just her goal with 10K but helping with her nonprofit; and we’re both going to learn about this process and be able to carry it forward,” said Chamberlain.

Despite being strangers, the two formed an instant connection.

“We’re learning a lot really quickly about how he’s going to do verbal cues, you know, a hand stapling. Maybe when we’re going through a narrow path, we have to move left to right. There are just various things that he and I have been working on just in the last few 30 minutes, and it’s been really beneficial.”

Marri Murdoch

Marri started a nonprofit, Travel Visions Aloha, for the blind and visually impaired community to show them they can be active and achieve anything they put their minds to, and she’ll be showing that as she crosses the finish line at the “Start to the Park 10K”.

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Murdoch said her goal is to “slightly change the stigma to the sighted world about what it means to be a blind person. Because, like I said, yes, we can do things. We love to have fun, just like anybody else. We like to accomplish our goals. We just do them in a slightly different way.”