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Guiding Eyes President, CEO To Run In New York City Marathon

Thomas Panek, center, will run in the NYC marathon.
Thomas Panek, center, will run in the NYC marathon. Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- Guiding Eyes for the Blind has announced that Thomas Panek, the organization’s president and chief executive office, will run the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 2.

Panek, who is blind, will navigate the 26.2 miles tethered to a sighted guide. He has set a fundraising goal of $26,200 to help others who are visually impaired and children with autism who are on the waiting list in need of a Guiding Eyes dog.

An athlete in his youth, Panek gave up sports for many years after losing his eyesight. With a lot of hard work and a little help from other runners, however, he has rediscovered his love for the open road.

“Even though I can’t see anymore, running with guides allows me to enjoy the outdoors, make new friends and help others understand it is possible to overcome the challenge of visual impairment,” he shared.

A Westchester County resident, he fulfilled one of his personal goals earlier in the year when he crossed the Boston Marathon finish line, greeted by his Guiding Eyes dog, Gus, a two year-old yellow Lab.

“When my eyesight went, I was hesitant to even walk slowly down the street by myself,” said Panek. “But then a great gift was given to me – I put my trust in a guide dog. Now that I have Gus, I can navigate the world with confidence and I want others to feel the same way.”

In New York, Panek will be guided along the 26.2-mile route by Michael Friedman, a longtime participant in Running Rabbis, and Amy Hanlon, an ultra-marathoner.

For more information or to make a donation to Guiding Eyes in support of Panek’s Marathon run, visit http://www.guidingeyes.org.

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