n late August, a 35-year-old Google employee named Will Barkan ran the Tamalpa Headlands 50K, a trail ultramarathon in Sausalito, California, just north of San Francisco. It was Barkan’s third time running that race, but this time, he was able to run it on his own, without a guide.
When Barkan was 10, he was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, a genetic retinal disorder that leads to the loss of central vision, the part of his sight that enables him to focus straight ahead. Barkan gets around without a cane or guide, but when he’s running in big crowds, at night or for longer distances, he needs assistance. “When you start running more than 50 miles, you need to run in the dark. That’s when I started using guides,” Barkan said.
But then, someone in his running group suggested an app called RunGo, which has pre-programmed running routes and gives audio cues from your phone or watch announcing turns, junctions and other landmarks.