Blind freshman cross-country runner hopes to finish 5k in 20 minutes or less with his 4th grade guide

One high school freshman hoped to run a 5k race in 20 minutes or less with the help of his fourth grade guide runner in West Fork, Ark., last year.

The duo: Fourth grader Rebel Hays uses a rope to help Paul Scott navigate the courses, according to an Instagram post that recently went viral again after it was reshared by Good News Movement

  • The young pair started the cross-country season off by running two mile races but then started running 5k races. They hoped to finish a 5k in 20 minutes or less by the end of the season, reported 5 News
  • Scott said that Hays “inspired and encouraged” him to run faster. It was Scott’s last year of being able to run with the team, so Hays wanted to help him “finish strong.” 
  • Coach Tiffany Surber, the coach at West Fork for over nine years, had visually impaired athletes on her team before Scott, reported MileSplit AR.
  • Scott’s three siblings, who were all also adopted from China and are visually impaired, ran on Surber’s team. His older sisters, Jenna and Rosie, ran from 2014-2018 and his brother, Tim, ran for the last few years but later focused on the marching band.

“I have to do it for Paul”: Hays, who loves running and helping people, jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at West Fork when Surber reached out to the community to find guide runners.

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  • Although he runs at Holcomb Elementary School, Hays admitted it was hard to keep up with the older students and train every day, but he “has to do it for Paul.”
  • “If I don’t run this distance, it’s like I’m cheating on Paul. I can’t cheat on Paul so, I have to run this distance, or this time no matter what,” Hays said.
  • “He’s not only a great runner, but he has a huge heart and he is willing to serve,” Surber said.

Featured Image via 5 News

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