Kyle Robidoux, 43, of Roxbury, Mass. is set to race the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in California, which starts Saturday morning. Kyle Robidoux is legally blind. Not only is this the first time the race has had a participant who is legally blind, but one of Robidoux’s sighted guides will be Scott Jurek, who won this race a record seven straight times from 1999 to 2005.
It won’t be a first for Robidoux, who has three 100-milers under his belt.
According to a report in Gold Country Media, Robidoux was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at age 11, and by 19 was legally blind. As he stopped doing his once-loved sports activities like baseball and skiing, he became increasingly angry, depressed and overweight. Nine years ago he had high cholesterol and couldn’t easily get down on the floor to play with his young daughter.
He entered therapy to help him deal with his depression, and soon afterwards he took up walking. Walking led to running, and Robidoux gradually built up his stamina, and his health started to improve.
He returned to the other sports he loved, and in 2010 he ran his first half-marathon in his home state of Maine with the help of sighted guides. He eventually qualified for the Boston Marathon, which he has run five times. Last year he ran (and finished) the TransRockies 120-mile (193K), six-day stage race at altitude in Colorado.
Robidoux is the director of volunteer and support group services for MAB Community Services in Boston.