Legally Blind Man to Run New York City Marathon Unassisted Thanks to New App

A GPS device on his arm will use vibrations to let him know whether he should go left or right.

Simon Wheatcroft is setting out to be the first legally blind person to race the New York City Marathon on his own.

Wheatcroft, 35, was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease and has been legally blind since he was 17 years old.

He has been training for the race using a device he helped create called “Wayband.”

The app utilizes an armband that uses GPS to emit vibrations to let Wheatcroft when to go left and right. Another device attached to his chest will let him know when he is approaching an obstacle in his path.

“Excited, nervous, a little scared,” Wheatcroft said when asked how he's feeling ahead of this weekend's race. "What I'm interested in is making sure this technology exists to help everybody.”

However, the road to perfecting his run has been bumpy, he said in an interview with ITV News.

"When you can't see where you're running you have to assume the environment is constant," he said. "That has seen me running into burned-out cars that have been left in the middle of the pavement and injuring myself quite badly."

Because of the hard work that went into training, Wheatcroft anticipated being overcome with emotion when he completes the race.

“It's going to be difficult to compute it at that point in time, so probably just going to end up crying [my] eyes out,” he said.