There are many things, people, and organizations that can bring out inspiration. Sometimes an inspirational person can bring more attention to a cause or vice versa. Sometimes a story can be inspirational. A person that achieves despite a disability, can inspire people to achieve.
Marla Runyan was born in 1969 in Santa Maria, California. When she was in fourth grade she started having problems with her vision. She later found out she had Stargardt’s disease and her vision increasingly worsened. Having played sports since she was a toddler, her focus became track as her vision deteriorated. She was recruited for track and attended San Diego State. After college she competed and achieved success, multiple medals, in the 1992 and 1996 Paralympic Games. She also competed and earned gold in the 1999 Pan American Games.
Marla Runyan married her coach, Matt Lonergan, in 2002. In 2005, they had a daughter. Marla returned to running following their daughter’s birth. She had to have back surgery in 2007 and then spend recovery time in a back brace.
She then decided to pursue a teaching career. She earned her second master’s degree to teach the visually impaired in 2012. After teaching in Oregon, they moved to Massachusetts and she began teaching at the Perkins School for the Blind. She has, also, joined Northeastern’s coaching staff. She still runs and coaches, although her sight has continued to worsen.
Her skill, but also her determination and perseverance are evident and inspiring. Be inspired! Have a bright day!