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Finish line out of sight for one runner

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An eight kilometer race is not an easy feat for everyone.

Many run it and finish, but for one 19-year-old the finish line is out of his sight, literally.

John Robert McKay is blind, but he doesn't let that stop him from running cross country.

"I try to think of myself as normal," said McKay.

He ran in the region 17 cross country tournament.

"It's kind of a challenge because I miss all of the grooves and the ditches," said McKay.

At this tournament he tried to beat his personal best running about 5 miles in under 40 minutes. He's running for Gordon College.

John went blind as a result of several brain surgeries to save his life soon after he was born.

"The surgery saved his life but it actually cost him his sight," Bob McKay, Father.

But that's no obstacle.

"I don't look at it as a disability but I just push through it," said John McKay.

"When he told me he was going to run I was scared to death," said Bob McKay.

But he doesn't run alone Caleb Lyon is his guide.

"It's amazing because you know people would sit there and complain about shin splints, this and that and it's like this kid can't see and he's overcoming all these obstacles," said Lyon.

John Campbell is his coach and says John Robert asks for no special treatment.

"He will fall from time to time, but it never slows him down," said Campbell.

"My second race I didn't have anyone and I ran into a barbed wire fence," said John McKay.

"He sees colors, and he can see you when you come up to him but he can't tell which one of us is which until we talk," said Bob McKay.

Though he didn't lead the pack John Robert has always kept a steady pace.

"He hadn't finished last in a race," said Bob McKay.

With family and friends at his side he's always made it to the finish line.

"Just because you have a disability or even if you don't you can't let it slow you down because you never know how good you can be," said John McKay.

John McKay finishing the race at 40:04, 2:16 faster than his previous personal best.


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