Marla Runyan is the first legally blind athlete to qualify and compete for the US Olympic Team in Track and Field. Runyan was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease when she was a child. The disease is hereditary and weakens an individual’s ability to see. Completing school work was a challenge because there was no technology, like computers, to assist her with reading and writing.
Runyan was a professional track and field athlete, road runner and marathon runner. She competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. She is also a three-time US National Champion in the 5,000 meters and a former American record holder in the Indoor 5,000 meters. Runyan now works as a motivational speaker and communicative disorder specialist.