Overcoming the handicap: Clément, blind marathon runner
Visual impairments are disabilities that prevent those who suffer from them from achieving extraordinary things. And yet…Our series of articles " overcoming disability " looks at the stories of people who accomplish things that they were almost asked to forget. In this respect, the story of Clément Gass is breathtaking. Blind marathon runner, he is the record holder in the discipline without assistance. We tell you more about his journey.
Clément Gass, blind marathon runner…and autonomous.
Let it be said, an athlete, professional or not, who achieves his goal, experiences immense satisfaction. Firstly because the means to get there are often an ordeal of suffering, questioning and work on oneself. Just look at the marked faces of any runner who crosses the finish line of a race, particularly the legendary marathon, whether in less than 2 hours or more than 5 hours. But what can we say when these people suffer from a visual disability?
Many blind people do not see their disability as an obstacle, and perhaps would never have thought of register for such events if they did not suffer from this disability. To make their dream come true, many of them decide to seek assistance. A very normal thing, and which in no way calls into question their incredible performances.
But Clément's approach is different. Born blind, he runs and trail runs without human assistance, using only a cane and a GPS. He also holds the world record for the marathon without assistance for a visually impaired person, in less than 4h30, while the rare athletes running in the same conditions all race for more than 5 hours.
A record which was approved at the Cernay-la-ville marathon (Yvelines) in 2018. Something which was not a foregone conclusion since this “discipline”, in any case this way of running n was not officially recognized.
Running…and other projects
This feat is not Clément Gass' only record. He also held the record for the longest trail without human assistance and is behind the “ let’s change our view ” project, an association created with Nicolas Linder, a visually impaired adventurer.
Statistician at INSEE , Clément participated in the development of a new rod and helped develop an application called “Navitact.” “The original algorithms have been adapted several times in order to improve fluidity because I am the first to use it while running. Information must be gathered very quickly.” It's the least we can say. 300 words per minute is almost incomprehensible to an untrained ear!
More than a personal way of performing, a real step forward for others
Clément's way of practicing his sport is not simply a questioning of what we know. It’s not just a matter of saying “it’s possible”. Its journey and its performances therefore open the way to technological advances and promises of innovation for all visually impaired people, athletes or not.
And this is where the approach of Clément takes on its full meaning. When records allow emulation through inspiration. It is a long journey fraught with difficulties. A marathon, in short.