A Walk In Our Shoes – A Blindfolded 10K Adventure

This idea is still in it’s VERY EARLY stages. All names/dates/times/locations/details are simply placeholders and are subject to change.

The 1st Annual “In Our Shoes” 10K Walk

Raising awareness of our city’s accessibility level and the state of assistive technology for the blind.

A real-world-situation walk with no set path to the finish line… blindfolded. Also, the finish line is a secret until the walk begins. The idea is for the participants to be mixed in the crowds on the street, and experience the world without vision. Participate solo or in pairs.

To have fun, raise awareness, and foster changes that allow the blind and visually impaired to independently move around our city more easily. It’s also a way to bring attention to new assistive tech gear, test its usability in real-world situations, and push the state of the art forward.

Each participant will approach the starting line one at a time. After you affix your blindfold, your left hand will be placed on a time clock and a time card will be placed in your right hand. As soon as you clock in, you will be told the address of the finish line. You and a non-blindfolded spotter will leave the area and the next participant will queue up.

There will be winners in 4 categories, based on shortest travel time:
1. Sighted, Solo
2. Sighted, Pair
3. Blind/Visually Impaired, Solo
4. Blind/Visually Impaired, Pair

Everyone who makes it to the finish line will get a certificate of participation.

The finish line will be between 8K and 10K away. No matter which path you take, you will travel roughly the same distance north-to-south as you will east-to-west.

Your spotter will be recording your trek on video. You cannot ask your spotter for help or to remind you of the address of the finish line. He/she will only speak to (or grab) you if you are in immediate physical danger.

You are allowed (encouraged even) to use any and all assistive technology available. You are not allowed to have a guide dog, or guide monkey, or guide human, or any other guide creature, This walk is to promote accessibility/mobility independent of other living beings. There is one exception: You are free to talk to people on the street and if you are participating as a pair you can talk to one another.

Pre- and Post-
Before the walk there is a giant disclaimer, and after the walk is a questionnaire. If you are among those who may be winners, you will be asked to submit your video for verification. Peeking will not disqualify you, but there will be severe time penalties.

OK, so that’s the idea (minus a lot of the small print).


In Seattle and want to help make it a reality?

Not in Seattle and still want to help?

I’ll need help designing posters, T-Shirts, web sites, and banners. I need to be connected with organizations that could stand to mutually benefit from our awareness campaign. I need to be made aware of the legal land-mines ahead. etc. etc.

Anyone know a local celebrity or sports figure that could participate and bring in national coverage?

E-mail me: neuroticnomad@gmail.com.

EDIT: Continued in “Details, Details, Details, Part One —->


3 responses to this post.

  1. Hope your walk goes well. Sounds like a great idea. My running partner watched a simulated video that helped her understand my vision. I thought it was SO nice of her!


    • First I have to say – Kudos to your partner. My wife is supportive that way. When my vision finally got bad enough for me to use a cane, she walked around the block blindfolded with only my cane and a 2-minute lesson as her guide (…and to tell the truth, she was a better first-timer than I was).

      Second, thanks for your well wishes on my walk.
      It seemed like a whacky idea when I had it – but sometimes ideas won’t go away. This is one of those ideas that stayed in my head – so I decided to see if if I could get some support. So far two artists have volunteered their labor and I am going to be talking with a local reporter soon.

      Now it’s time to start working on the nuts and bolts.

      Any advice you wish to give will be welcome. I’m about to do a write up of all the details I left out of the first post (for brevity’s sake) and put out my official call for input – but you can get first dibs on my attention. Ha ha.

      Thanks again for your comment.
      – Gerald


  2. Gerald-
    Good for you for doing this! I am no artist, or reporter, but I would love to help you in any way that I can. Keep me posted on your progress. I will participate or volunteer, or both. Stay on this idea; as our friend Luke would say, “It’s a gooder!”



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