Blind Man Conquers Machu Picchu Marathon in Just One Day
Meet Dan Berlin. Over the course of the last 20 years, Dan has gradually lost his eyesight due to an inherited condition known as cone-rod dystrophy. Dan initially struggled with depression through the limitations of his new reality, but then he came to the realization that he wasn’t going to let his new situation dictate how he was going to live his life. He decided, despite being blind, that he was going to become a marathoner.
With steadfast conviction, Dan set out to become the first blind person to run the entire 26.2 mile Inca Trail marathon course, a gruelling journey to Machu Picchu of rocky ups and downs, in a single day. Together with his team of supportive guides, collectively known as Team See Possibilities, and a local Intrepid Travel guide, he was ready.
But authorities, guides, porters and travellers told Dan and his team that it would be impossible for Dan to successfully complete the marathon in one day. The trail ranges in altitude from 9,000 to 14,000 feet, and typically takes the average person about four days to complete. It has been described as one of the toughest marathons on the planet.
Dan was up at the crack of dawn to begin his journey, setting off at 4:30 a.m. wearing a reflective vest reading “BLIND” and the biggest smile on his face. With his team in front and behind to guide him on each step, Dan at times seemed to glide across the challenging landscape with more energy and agility than most sighted people would be capable of.
On October 14, 2015, in an incredible feat of physical and mental strength, Dan became the first blind person to finish the Inca Trail marathon in just one day. It took Dan and his team 13 hours to reach the finish line.
Find out more about Dan and Team See Possibilities here.