Myrtle Beach Marathon

How a blind runner and her trusted guide accomplished a major feat in MB half marathon

Angie Moran ran a personal best by more than six minutes in the half marathon portion of the 22nd Myrtle Beach Marathon on Saturday.

Sherman Turner had a personal best experience.

They ran the race as a team.

Moran, 34, is blind, and Turner was her running guide in a race for the first time. They had previously run together three times recreationally and in training.

They finished in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 44 seconds, exceeding Moran’s personal goal Saturday of 2:15.

“I needed a guide for this race and here we are, a six-minute, 16-second PR,” said Moran, of Arlington, Va.

“I’ve run a lot of halves, I just got into fulls, I’ve run about 12 fulls. This is the most amazing race I’ve ever been in,” said Turner, also of the Washington, D.C., area. “It’s so amazing because it’s not about you, it’s not about your PR, it’s about somebody else. So when you’re out here for someone else, you’re not thinking about your time, your split, it’s all her race. And to help her, to guide her, to pace her to a six-minute, 16-second PR, I mean . . . it’s even more fulfilling for me.”

Moran says she was duped into distance running when she was living in Savannah, Ga. She was studying jiu-jitsu and thought she needed a more comprehensive workout.

“I found a really good guy to run with, and he kind of tricked me into running longer miles, and then all of a sudden two months later I was running a half marathon,” Moran said. “One thing leads to another.

“I’m an athlete, so we like pushing ourselves. I like running. It makes me feel good. I used to not ever run because I have to trust people to run, so as my trust increased that’s when my running kind of increased. I have to trust somebody to guide me.”

She said she has had running partners she wasn’t comfortable with and stopped running with them. “If I didn’t have awesome runners in the community to trust I wouldn’t be running,” she said. “The best guides are selfless.”

Turner knew nothing of guiding a couple months ago.

During a meet and greet at the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. in late October, he met a young woman who asked him if he could coach her.

“After we got started she said, ‘Oh, I guide.’ I didn’t know what guiding was,” Turner said. “. . . I came out with them and kind of watched them and I thought it was amazing.”

The woman was running in the marathon Saturday so Moran needed a guide in the half. “I’m like, ‘Why not?’ ” Turner said.

They ran connected by an elastic tether. When it was relaxed Moran knew she could run unabated. Turner directed Moran by pulling on it and with verbal commands. When they ran through a congested area, Moran got behind Turner and ran with a hand on his shoulder.

“We always have to communicate,” Moran said. “If we don’t communicate then we’re not going to be able to have a good run. I have to communicate and he has to communicate.”

Moran was receiving congratulations and thanks from other runners for her inspiration on the course.

She will have a chance to break Saturday’s personal best mark this upcoming weekend when she runs in the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. half marathon. Moran has completed about 10 half marathons and one full marathon, and plans to run a pair of marathons in the fall.

“It keeps me going,” she said. “My only goal this year was to keep running throughout the winter because I’ve never actually been constant about running in the cold, and I did it.”

“I’m capable of anything,” she said.

Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.