How technology helped a blind athlete run free at the New York Marathon

It’s a literal road to nowhere. Stretching out from a roundabout outside the Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, a small village in Northern England, it’s a wholly unremarkable stretch of slowly cracking pavement, bushes, and weeds, an idle strip of asphalt near long-term parking and a bland business park.

For 35-year-old runner Simon Wheatcroft, however, this stretch of unused roadway may as well be his gym, training center, and proving grounds, his own private version of the 72 stone steps that make up a Rocky montage. Wheatcroft knows every inch of this one-third-mile strip of asphalt — from the contours of the roadway to the feeling of its double yellow lines of paint under his sneakers. Despite the mind-numbing bore of jogging such a short length in endless loops, Wheatcroft had to memorize it. He’s blind.

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