Active Inspiration: Luanne Burke Leads Blind Runners to the Cherry Creek Sneak

April 27 2011, 8:47 AM

When it comes time to motivate for your next workout, think of Luanne Burke. Legally blind, Burke is active on the running circuit and plans to compete in her first triathlon in July. As she prepares for her 50th birthday this summer, she continues to ski (on snow and water) and is on a mission to help more people with visual impairments get outdoors and exercise (Denver Post).

Burke's efforts have led to a separate start for roughly a dozen blind runners at this weekend's Cherry Creek Sneak. "We were honored that she would choose our event and jumped at the chance," says race director Pat Downing. "These participants' courage, dedication, and willingness to overcome challenge is remarkable and inspiring."

Burke says she understands why many visually impaired people hesitate to consider a more active lifestyle. As a degenerative eye disease increases her vision loss, running and exercising become more challenging. "It's more difficult to be mobile at a higher heart rate when you can't see—unless you're on a machine, and that's not always fun.... [People] really do need the encouragement to come out."