"I'm excited to be racing Boston again, and to show others that with the right support, an individual who is visually impaired can accomplish their goals!"
~ Joyce Cron
Boston Marathon for the fifth time. But it will be my first time running as a member of Team With A Vison (TWAV). TWAV is a group of blind and sighted runners who race to support individuals throughout Massachusetts living with vision loss. Their efforts allow the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) to deliver professional, peer and volunteer support to over 1,100 individuals each year, giving them the assistance they need to live with dignity and independence. All funds raised are used to strengthen MABVI's statewide network of vision rehabilitation services. (click here to donate to my campaign) I am both privileged and honored to be guiding the lovely Joyce Cron, a wife, mom, runner and all around awesome lady. I am incredibly excited and ridiculously nervous as I have never guided prior to this. But, Joyce? She's as cool as a cucumber and very clearly ready to rock. After completing my first run with her, I knew this was going to be a unique and amazing experience for both of us. We chatted and laughed our way through six miles and by the end my nerves had taken a back seat thanks to her calm and confident demeanor. Despite my uncertainty as a guide, she seems to have the complete and total trust in both me and the rest of our team (we will have 2 other runners with us). If you're coming out for the marathon, look for TEAM CRON along the course and give us a cheer. Before we get to the line, though, I want to introduce you to Joyce and tell you a little more about who she is and all that she has accomplished. I've no doubt you'll be in awe as I was and continue to be each time I spend more time with her. Because, really, there's nothing this woman can't do.
TEAM CRON: JOYCE & REBECCA
Name: Joyce Cron
Where you grew up: Setauket, NY
Where you live now: Acton, MA
I understand you were born with Retinitis Rigmentosa (RP). Can you tell us a little bit about this disease and how it has impacted your life over the years?
RP is a degenerative eye disease. I have less than 10 degrees of peripheral vision, no night vision and cannot see in bright light.
How did this disease impact your day to day life when you were younger?
I had enough vision to function like any child in day to day living while growing up. I have always faced things with a positive attitude and my limited vision was my weakness.
At what age did you start running?
I started running in high school on the track team. My events were 800m, relays, discus, and shotput.
Can you give me a brief summary of what you were up to from post-college to today?
After college I enjoyed cycling, windsurfing and skiing with my husband. I was a computer programmer before becoming a full time mom to two children, now in HS.
You used to be an avid cyclist. Tell us about that? What was it about cycling that made you love it so much?
I do enjoy riding my bicycle. This started in high school and continued through college. I love using my energy, breathing the fresh outside air while on an adventure going somewhere. I have joined many rides with the Charles River Wheelmen. This is when I first started riding a tandem.
You were declared legally blind in 1987. Is that something you were prepared for when it happened as it certainly didn’t seem to stop you from staying active!
My day to day life did not change at the time I was declared legally blind as RP is a slow degenerative eye disease. It just defines a legal limit for activities allowed (such as driving or race qualifications) and government benefits.
What was it about running that made you want to stick with it over the years?
I kept coming back to running for different reasons. Once I lived next to a bicycle path which was so inviting to run on. I volunteered at the Boston Marathon and decided I had to run that. With growing children, I ran to keep up with their energy level.
How did you get into racing? What was your first race?
As a motivator for my runs, I signed up and ran my first race was the Mike Erusione 10k in 1990.
When did you hook up with TEAM WITH A VISION?
In 2013, I was introduced to a visually impaired athlete by a volunteer at the Appleman Triathlon in Littleton. This is when I first learned of guided running and TWAV. Since then I have joined TWAV at the Tufts Health Plan 10k and the Eastern States 20 mile.
What was your first guided race experience? Were you nervous? How did it go?
My first guided race was at the 2014 Yankee Homecoming 10 mile in Newburyport, MA. Another runner joined us at the race and wanted to help guide. All three of us had a great time with strategizing throughout the race that I didn't think about being nervous.
My first time running the 200 mile Reach the Beach relay in NH, I joined a team of 12 runners plus a guide. I spent 24 hrs with a team that I had just met and all throughout the 24hrs of racing, these runners were so kind constantly making sure I was all set. That really touched my heart.
Your kids have been very involved with your training and racing. I’m guessing that’s a lot of fun for all of you? Has it brought you closer together?
My running is fun for all of us. At the upcoming Boston, my husband will be joining me at team events and helping with driving TWAV runners to Hopkinton. My son and his track friends will be on the course rooting for me and other TWAV runners. My daughter is so glad her school trip comes back the day before Boston so she can be part of the big day.
Your daughter has guided you for a sprint triathlon. That is incredible. Can you tell us about that experience?
My daughter, 15 then, guided me in the Appleman Triathlon in 2015. She and I both competed individually in two previous Appleman Triathlon so we knew what to expect. On the swim, we were tethered with a cord low on our hips so our arms didn't get caught while swimming. Twice during the race, another swimmer did not see our line and tried to swim between us and got tangled. My daughter dove down to free the swimmer. My daughter steered the tandem and we tether while running. We just had a adventure that day and our team effort got us both a PR!
It appears you keep a busy lifestyle with training and family life, how do you make time for all of it?
I keep planning and prioritizing.
Why did you choose to run the 2016 Boston Marathon?
My son kept asking and asking 'when are you going to run Boston?' I did not think I could qualify for Boston. Then I learned about running with a guide and I learned there is a visually impaired qualifying time. So last year, I ran the Providence Marathon with a guide and got the qualifying time to run the 2016 Boston Marathon.
What are your main goals for this race?
My goal is to cross that finish line and I'm targeting for 4hrs 30mins. I will have two guides at all times. One guide will be tethered with me using the cord to communicate where to run. The other guide will our 'defense' runner who will run in front of us to deter other runners from crossing to close in front of us. (It is common for me to fall at races because a runner crosses to closely in front and we are not able to react in time to slow down). We are a team and will be strategizing throughout the race to get all three of us to the finish line.
What’s next after Boston?
Running with an ultra team at the 200 Mile Reach the Beach relay in NH.
Sweet or salty? sweet
Coffee or tea? tea
Summer or winter? summer
What’s your favorite workout? running
What’s your ideal rest day activity? cycling
Favorite running shoe brand? Brooks Ghost (Well, the only brand I have run with in recent years)
Favorite running gadget or accessory? Maui Jim MJSport (Love the contrast of the rose lens)
Favorite race distance? half marathon (Like distance but training is not so time consuming)
Favorite post-race meal? lobster roll (And the Smuttynose Half gave these out at the end of the race, yum)
Favorite ice cream flavor? peppermint stick ice cream
Favorite pump up song? Lose Yourself by Eminem (This song would be great to hear on race day)
Listen to this: (One of Joyce's all-time favorites)
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey