What is visually impaired athletics?
Athletics is one of the most popular and accessible sports for athletes with visual impairments. Whether you want to build speed, endurance or strength there’s a wide range of inclusive opportunities!
How do I get involved in visually impaired athletics?
To find a club in your area please use our Activity Finder or contact your home country athletics club:
Athletics Northern Ireland
Find A guide
Running is a great way to get fit, enjoy the outdoors and meet other people. England Athletics and British Blind Sport have created the Find a Guide Database to help you start, get back to or stay running. If you are 18 or older simply search for guide runners near you using your postcode. For more information contact Liz Purbrick, National Disability Manager for England Athletics at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to go to the Find A Guide website: FindAGuide.co.uk
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a guide runner and enabling blind or partially sighted people to get active please check out this information:https://www.englandathletics.org/coaching/development/sight-loss-awareness/
Parkruns are free, weekly, community events. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate. You can learn more by visiting the Parkrun website: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/
Our reflective running gear will help keep you safe while you are out running. We've designed a collection of bright bibs and activewear for recreational blind and partially sighted runners to help you stand out and be easily identified when out running with your guide. Visit: https://britishblindsport.org.uk/product-category/products/
Guide Running Tethers are also available to purchase from Britsh Blind Sport. Visit: https://britishblindsport.org.uk/product-category/products/
Pathways and Competitions
Like the thought of having a gold Paralympic medal? Then you might want to start competing in athletics.
Visually Impaired athletes are eligible to compete at the Paralympic Games and the IPC World and European Athletics Championships provided that they have a valid international athletics classification and IPC License. There are many other athletics competitions that VI athletes can compete in:
- Mainstream (non-disability) competitions e.g. county, regional and national championships, open meetings, league meetings, road races.
- Integrated competitions (competitions with events for both disabled and non-disabled participants) e.g. Parallel Success events, England Athletics Championships.
- Pan-disability competitions e.g. DSE (Disability Sport Events) regional and national championships.
- Visually impaired specific competitions e.g. Metro Blind Sport, Actionnaires events.
To compete in athletics for people with visual impairments, you will need a sight classification. This ensures all athletes are participating in fair and equal competition. Classifications can often be expensive, but if you become a British Blind Sport member, sight classifications for national competitions are included for free! For more information on sight classifications visit http://www.britishblindsport.org.uk/classification or email British Athletics for National and International enquiries at email@example.com
This athletics resource helps coaches support people with a visual impairment in track, field and road-running activities. The extensive resource provides recommendations from making athletics sessions accessible to how to be a great guide runner. The resource also offers support to parents and guardians of children with sight loss.
- England Athletics
- Scottish Athletics
- Welsh Athletics
- Athletics Northern Ireland
- British Athletics
- World Para Athletics
- Disability Sports NI
- Scottish Disability Sport
- Disability Sport Wales
- Activity Alliance