National Industries for the Blind Returns as Title Sponsor of National Half Marathon Championship for Visually Impaired

Premier Race to Kick Off the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon

September 21, 2012, ALEXANDRIA, VA – National Industries for the Blind (NIB) announced today that it will host the third annual NIB Visually Impaired National Half Marathon Championships concurrent with the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon on October 7.

The 13.1-mile Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon is sanctioned by USA Track & Field (USATF) on a USATF-certified course that begins at Mount Vernon Estate, Museum and Gardens, travels up the George Washington Memorial Parkway, crosses the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and ends at the National Harbor waterfront resort.

Participation in the NIB Championships has grown steadily since NIB’s sponsorship began in 2010. In the inaugural event, three blind or visually impaired runners competed. Last year, 11 competed, and this year, NIB expects 15 or more blind or visually impaired athletes from around the nation to participate.

“The race allows people who are blind or visually impaired to not only compete in a first-class running event, but also network and have fun with their fellow racers,” said Kevin A. Lynch, NIB president and CEO. “Most importantly, the event demonstrates that in all walks of life—from competing in marathons to working in their chosen professions—people who are blind or visually impaired are as capable as their sighted counterparts.”

The 2012 NIB Championships will feature its first veteran visually impaired runner, Richard Hunter, who served as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. “I find it hugely inspiring to meet and run alongside other people who are on their vision loss journey,” says Hunter. “Together, we can help educate and change public perception of what people who are visually impaired are capable of.”

Hunter, who has completed the Boston Marathon, a full Ironman triathlon, and four half-Ironman races, is currently the United States Association of Blind Athletes record holder for the half marathon in the men’s open road B2 division.

Funding for the NIB Championships comes from NIB’s Workforce Development Challenge program, which provides grants for projects that help raise awareness about the capabilities of people who are blind, or match professionals who are blind to organizations with employment opportunities.

NIB will host a celebratory dinner on the eve of the event for participants who are blind or visually impaired. At the dinner, the runners will have an opportunity to network with their fellow competitors, and learn about NIB’s mission to promote personal and economic independence for people who are blind.


About National Industries for the Blind
NIB is a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment. NIB and its network of 90 associated nonprofit agencies nationwide serve as the largest employer for people who are blind by the sale of SKILCRAFT® and other products and services through the AbilityOne Program, established by the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act.

About the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon is an exciting race that begins in Alexandria, Virginia, and ends in National Harbor, Maryland. The race benefits several nonprofit organizations and is supported by various local and national running organizations. The event is also part of the Pacers Events 2012 Race Series and 2012 RacePacket Series. The half marathon is the host of the 2012 Road Runners Club of America Virginia State Half Marathon Championship and will host the RRCA National Championship next year. View last year’s results or find out more about the event.

Mike Johnson
Communications Manager