By Kate V., 5th grade

Have you ever heard of Marla Runyan? She was the first legally blind person to compete in the Olympics. The most surprising thing is that you might see her at Edison!

Marla Runyan has started competing in sporting events ever since college. She has won 5 gold medals at the Paralympics for long jump, pentathlon, 100-,200- and 400-meter races. At first, she tried out at the regular Olympics and got 10th in the Heptathlon. Marla had run the 800-meter with a time of 2:04.7, the heptathlon record. Soon, she had also succeeded in the Pan American Games, where she won the 1,500m race.

Marla Runyan


Marla then went back to the Olympics, where she  placed 8th in the 1,500m race at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. This made her the first legally blind person to compete in the Olympics. She also got the highest finish for an American woman in that event.

Soon she won the first of her 3 5000m National Championships in 2001 and published her autobiography. Marla finished as the top American in the 2002 NY Marathon, with an incredible time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 10 seconds. The feat of being an international medalist for the 1,500m race and an expert marathon runner (all over varied distances) is only rivaled by Rod Dixon on the men’s side.

Again, in 2003, Marla won the road 5K and was qualified for the 2004 Olympics. In 2006, she won her third National Championship at 20km. She was voted as Runner of the Year in 2002 and 2006.

Currently Marla is sometimes working at Edison with Lauren G., who is also visually impaired.