NEW YORK (KXAN/CNN) — A blind runner made history after crossing the finish line at this year’s United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, and it was all thanks to his guide dogs.
The online tracking NYRR shows Thomas Panek and his three Labrador Retrievers Westly, Waffle and Gus had a steady 10:45 minute pace per mile and crossed the finish line in less than two-and-a-half hours. The three dogs each took a shift on the 13.1-mile run, but it was Gus who took the final leg. Both got to take a photo at the end with their medals.
Panek hopes he and his dogs will inspire others with disabilities and take part in more activities. He was an avid runner when he lost his eyesight in his early twenties and missed running.
He started running again with the help of volunteer human guides and completed 20 marathons. He decided that running with guide dogs gave him more independence. In 2015 he started the Running Guides program at the nonprofit Guiding Eyes for the Blind.